Posted tagged ‘Visa reform’

Report: ICE Has 27 Different Databases for Visa Overstays, Catches Only 0.4%

May 7, 2017

Report: ICE Has 27 Different Databases for Visa Overstays, Catches Only 0.4%, Washington Free Beacon, , May 7, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 14: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), agents detain an immigrant on October 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Immigrations and Custom Enforcement cannot account for all visa overstays due to inefficiencies in the agency, according to a new report.

ICE arrested just 0.4 percent of visa overstays it could account for, according to an audit by the inspector general.

The agency has 27 different databases used to investigate and track immigrants who remain in the country past the deadline issued on their temporary visas. The lack of a cohesive system has “produced numerous inefficiencies,” making ICE ineffective at catching visa overstays who may pose security risks, according to the audit.

“Department of Homeland Security IT systems did not effectively support ICE visa tracking operations,” the inspector general said. “ICE personnel responsible for investigating in-country visa overstays pieced together information from dozens of systems and databases, some of which were not integrated and did not electronically share information. Despite previous efforts to improve information sharing, the DHS Chief Information Officer (CIO) did not provide the oversight and centralized management needed to address these issues.”

The inspector general said ICE agents are not receiving proper training to use the systems, which can contain up to 40 different passwords for ICE officers to login.

“Because of these systems and management limitations, DHS could not account for all visa overstays in data it annually reported to Congress,” the inspector general said.

“Manual checking across multiple systems used for visa tracking contributed to backlogs in casework and delays in investigating suspects who potentially posed public safety or homeland security risks,” the inspector general added.

ICE reported to Congress there were 527,127 nonimmigrant overstays in 2015, but the numbers did not include student visas or anyone who crossed the border from Mexico or Canada.

“Because of unreliable collection of departure data at these ports of entry, the Department could not account for these potential overstays,” the inspector general said. “Therefore, the report was limited in that it only included individuals traveling to the United States by air or sea on business travel or tourism.”

Of the more than 500,000 identified overstays, only 3,402 were arrested, which amounts to less than 0.4 percent.

ICE’s databases also had inaccurate information recorded on those who were arrested.

“In some cases, the individuals arrested had been reported in DHS systems as having already left the United States,” the inspector general said. “Because this information was not recorded, ICE personnel were unable to provide an exact number when asked during our audit.”

The United States issued more than 10.8 million nonimmigrant visas in 2015. The inspector general said that although only a small percentage overstay their visas, those individuals could pose severe national security risks.

“For example, two of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001, were visa overstays,” the inspector general said. “This prompted the 9/11 Commission to call for the government to ensure that all visitors to the United States are tracked on entry and exit.”

The audit noted that the department has 27 different databases for handling visa overstays, leading ICE officers to be “unsure of which system to use.” There are 17 separate systems that are used only for conducting the initial part of the overstay investigation.

Even the most experienced officers have trouble navigating the ICE database system. One agent with over two decades of experience said he was not aware of a database that is often used for national security vetting of overstays.

Focus on Border Wall as Visa Overstays Create Illegal Immigrant Crisis

March 21, 2017

Focus on Border Wall as Visa Overstays Create Illegal Immigrant Crisis, Judicial Watch, March 21, 2017

While the Trump administration focuses on securing the southern border, most illegal immigrants enter the United States legally and stay after their visa expires, a new study reveals. That’s because, incredibly, the U.S. doesn’t have an adequate system to assure the foreigners leave when they’re supposed to. This has been a serious problem for years and in fact some of the 9/11 hijackers overstayed their visa to plan the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. More than a decade and a half later little has changed. Securing the famously porous southern border is essential to national security but so is a reliable system that cracks down on visa overstays.

How bad is the problem? More than half of the undocumented people living in the U.S. entered the country with visas that expired, according to a report issued this month by a New York-based think tank dedicated to studying international migration. The study analyzes Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statistics from 2014 and finds that two-thirds of foreigners who arrived did not cross the border illegally, but rather were admitted on non-immigrant temporary visas and overstayed their period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their visas. “Overstays accounted for about two-thirds (66 percent) of those who arrived (i.e., joined the undocumented population) in 2014,” the report states.

Visa overstays exceeded illegal border crossings, Entries Without Inspection (EWI), every year since 2007, the report says, and 600,000 more overstays than EWIs have arrived since 2007. Most illegal immigrants in the U.S. come from Mexico, the DHS figures used to compile the report show, about one-third of them visa overstays. This translates into 4.5 million visa overstays from Mexico in the year that was studied. California has the largest number of overstays (890,000), followed by New York (520,000), Texas (475,000), and Florida (435,000). Not surprisingly, California and Texas have the biggest chunk of illegal border crossers from Mexico, with 1.7 million and 1.3 million respectively. Other states, such as Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, also have large numbers of visa overstays, the report states.

The study was actually published to make a case against building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but in the process highlights the visa overstay crisis which compromises national security just as much as the porous border. Judicial Watch has reported on both for years and obtained public records that help illustrate the severity of the matter. The bottom line is that Islamic terrorists are using both avenues to enter the U.S. As part of an ongoing investigation on the Mexican border, Judicial Watch has published a series of articles documenting how Middle Eastern terrorists have joined forces with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate the U.S. and train in southern border towns near American cities. Sources include local, state and federal law enforcement officials as well as military figures on both sides of the border.

The threat created by visa overstays has also been well documented. Just last year Judicial Watch obtained DHS figures showing that more than half a million foreigners with expired visas—like four of the 9/11 jihadists—remained in the country, thousands of them from terrorist nations like Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria. More than 45,000 Mexicans overstayed their visa, according to the DHS records, and thousands more from El Salvador, Ecuador, Venezuela and China. The visas are granted for “business or pleasure” and the foreigners come via sea or air port of entry. For nearly a decade a number of federal audits have offered the alarming figures associated with visa overstays, including one released back in 2011 that estimates half of the nation’s illegal immigrants entered legally with visas.

A few years after the 2001 terrorist attacks Congress launched a system that was supposed to track the entry and exit of foreign nationals by using electronically scanned fingerprints and photographs. But five years and $1 billion later, the system, U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT), still had serious flaws. A few years later the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), published a report confirming that nearly half of the nation’s illegal aliens entered the U.S. legally and overstayed their visas undetected. In the years that followed the government did little to improve what has developed into a dire national security disaster. In 2011 yet another federal audit confirmed that the U.S. had lost track of millions who overstayed their visas and two years later the crisis intensified when DHS lost track of 266 dangerous foreigners with expired visas. The government determined that they “could pose a national security or public safety concerns,” according to the director of Homeland Security and Justice at the GAO.

FULL MEASURE: March 19, 2017 – No Return

March 20, 2017

FULL MEASURE: March 19, 2017 – No Return via YouTube, March 20, 2017

(Thirty countries, to the citizens of which America issues visas, refuse to accept the repatriation of their citizens guilty of substantial criminal activity in America. The video suggests solutions. — DM)