A number of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers were visa overstays, prompting the 9/11 Commission to call for the government to complete a tracking system so all visitors to the U.S. are tracked on entry and exit. The entry system works, but the government does not have a complete working exit system. The man who drove the van containing explosives into the World Trade Center garage in 1993 was a student visa holder who was a no-show at school. The terrorist who flew a plane into the Pentagon also was a visa no-show. People who overstay their visa, or come in to the country on a student visa but don’t show up at school ARE a grave threat to the United States.
Last year 480,000 foreign nationals came into this country and overstayed their visa according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), “adding to a backlog that’s reached some 5 million total, members of Congress said. But immigration agents launched investigations into just 10,000 of them, or about 0.2 percent, and arrested fewer than 2,000, less than 0.04 percent, saying the others don’t rise to the level of being priority targets.” Does it really take another 3,000 dead for people to realize that this is a problem?
Craig Healy, assistant director for national security investigations at ICE testified before congress on Tuesday and struggled to defend the administration’s meager efforts:
Immigration agents catch an abysmally small percentage of the illegal immigrants who arrived on visas but overstayed their welcome, authorities admitted to Congress Tuesday, describing a loophole that those around the globe are increasingly using to gain a foothold in the U.S.
“We utilize our prioritization scheme along with the resources that we have,” Craig Healy, assistant director for national security investigations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said as he struggled to defend the administration’s meager efforts.
He blamed a shortage of funding and a tricky environment, where authorities only have limited information, and it takes them months to decide if someone really did overstay their visa and if they are deemed serious enough offenders to make an effort to go after.
Members of Congress were stunned, saying more needs to be done to go after overstays.
Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, said the Obama administration has increasingly lost sight of the problem, deporting some 12,500 overstays in 2009, but just 6,800 in 2012 and only 2,500 last year — or less than one out of every 2,000.
By deporting such a small percentage of the visa overstayers, the message they are sending wide and far is just get into the country, if you’re not convicted of a serious crime, [and] you’re going to be allowed to stay. You’re gonna pass go; you’re gonna get the money,” Mr. Smith said. “That is the wrong message to send because it increases more illegal immigration.”
The fact this visa issue has not been fixed is astounding. But incredibly over a decade ago a system was developed to screen who comes in and out of the country but the ACLU types objected. As explained by Michelle Malkin:
The concept of a national security entry-exit screening database is at least 10 years old. It’s an idea that was sabotaged by the progressive soft-on-security ideologues with whom Rubio has recklessly partnered.
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration created NSEERS, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Administered and championed by Justice Department constitutional lawyer, immigration enforcement expert and now-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, NSEERS stopped at least 330 known foreign criminals and three known terrorists who had attempted to come into the country at certain official ports of entry.
NSEERS required higher scrutiny and common-sense registration requirements for individuals from jihad-friendly countries including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as other at-risk countries. The basic components included a more rigorous application process in light of the shoddy visa questionnaires and undetected overstays of the 9/11 hijackers; 30 extra minutes of interviewing at ports of entry; a digital fingerprint check and in-person registration after they arrived in the interior of the country; and verification of departure once they exited.
When the Obama administration took over, indefinitely suspended the NSEERS pilot program because this President believes in open borders—and congress does nothing.
Michelle explained that six times over the past 18 years a computer system to track foreigners who come in and out of the country has been mandated by congress, however along with the double fence on our southern border it sits in the trashcan of security legislation passed by congress and never executed.
Where is Congress why aren’t they fixing this problem (and the rest of the border security issues) now!
Overstays have traditionally drawn less scrutiny than border jumpers when it comes to illegal immigration. For one, they entered legally, which means they went through at least some inspection, and they are more likely to go home of their own accord.
While border crossers draw heavily from Latin America, visa overstays come from across the globe — including from so-called “special interest” countries with ties to terrorism.
After years of delay, Homeland Security officials in January released a report detailing part of the problem. Of the nearly 50 million business and tourist visas issued, about 1 percent — or 500,000 — remained even after their permission expired in 2015.
This is idiotic. Why are we wasting time whining about taking away people’s second and fourth amendment rights by using a flawed terrorist watch to take away people’s firearms? Why aren’t we sealing our boarders? Preventing possible terrorists from coming into the country–not just via a wall but by knowing exactly who is going in and out of this country.
Protecting the borders of this country should be number one domestic issue above everything else. Minimum wage, jobs, energy….none of it matters if your body parts are are spewed all across the neighborhood because of a terrorist bomb, or you are riddled with bullets from a terrorist’s firearms..Any member of congress who speaks of gun control before the borders are verified as secure, before we know who is coming into the country and whether or not they have left is abdicating their responsibility to the American voters.
The United States has no idea who is coming in, out, or staying in the country, and what they have with them. The vast majority of those “missing” visa students are here with good intent, however it just takes one monster with nefarious intent to cause a major tragedy.