Buried deep within the pages of an obscure Senate Report (113-115) dealing with Homeland Security and southern border security enforcement issues are found references to just how broken the immigration system really is. Specific reference was made to the visa program.
“Thirty-five percent to 45 percent of illegal immigrants entered the United States on valid visas, but have continued to stay here even after their visas expires. Many illegal immigrants did not enter the United States by crossing the border from Mexico, a problem when trying to combat illegal immigration. The Committee hearing found that there needs to be better ways to measure border control in order to increase the chance of effectively stopping the illegal immigration problem.”
“On May 3, 2011, the Committee held a hearing to address the number of illegal immigrants who entered the country legally but overstayed their visas. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that 40 percent to 45 percent of the total population of illegal immigrants–4 to 5 million people–stayed past their visa expiration dates. The population is a national security risk demonstrated by the fact that five of the 9/11 hijackers overstayed their visas”, the report concludes.
“Identifying individuals who have overstayed their visas is of critical importance to national security; 36 of the roughly 400 people convicted of terrorism-related charges since September 2001 had overstayed their visas. The U.S. VISIT program, which is supposed to identify people who have potentially overstayed their visas, cannot keep up with the growing number of potential overstays”, the report notes.
“In addition to the trouble DHS has identifying people that overstay their visas, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only devotes 3 percent of its investigative man hours to tracking down immigrants whose visas have expired. The Senator requested that Secretary Napolitano updates the DHS’s progress on this vulnerability in the county’s national security”, according to Senate Report 113-115 – ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov).
See related article: New Pew Report Confirms Visa overstays driving increased illegal immigration http://www.cis.org/seminara/new-pew-report-confirms-visa-overstays-are-driving-increased-illegal-immigration