by WorldTribune Staff, June 29, 2023
More than two decades after 9/11 hijackers exploited the government’s system for tracking foreigners who overstay their visas, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that a record 853,955 foreigners overstayed their visas in 2022.
The latest figures included in the Fiscal Year 2022 Entry/Exit Overstay Report “illustrate that the problem is much worse than previously reported,” Judicial Watch noted in its Corruption Chronicles on June 28.
The new DHS data shows that 9,005 Chinese citizens overstayed their student visa last fiscal year, accounting for around 16% of student or exchange visitor overstays. India is second in the category with 5,037 followed by 2,918 Colombians and 2,427 Brazilians.
Venezuelans accounted for the largest number of short-term visitors with expired visas at 172,640 followed by Mexico with 123,623. Mexicans also accounted for the biggest chunk of overstays in temporary worker visas with 131,000 followed by India with 5,800.
Throughout the report DHS appears to make excuses for the security lapses, writing in one instance that “determining lawful status requires more than matching entry and exit data.” As an example, the agency offers that “a person may receive a six-month period of admission upon entry and then subsequently apply for and receive an extension for the period of admission of up to six months from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” Identifying those extensions, changes, or adjustments of status are necessary steps to determine whether a person has overstayed the authorized period of admission, DHS said.
“DHS tries to sugarcoat it by highlighting that most foreigners left when they were supposed to,” Judicial Watch noted. “The agency also uses the excuse of the ‘unique challenges’ due to COVID-19 and temporary changes in U.S. policy that allowed travelers to file for immigration benefits while out of status. Nevertheless, DHS is forced to recognize that the record-breaking figure of 853,955 ‘presents the overstay rates of those who remained in the United States beyond their authorized period of admission with no evidence of an extension to their period of admission or adjustment to another immigration status.’ This is very disturbing and deserves congressional scrutiny.”
At least four of the September 11 hijackers were in the United States with expired visas and “all these years later,” the government has yet to find “a way to adequately track visa overstayers,” the report said.
After the 9/11 attacks Congress created a system to track the entry and exit of foreign nationals by using electronically scanned fingerprints and photographs. It was called the U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT) which “never worked properly” despite an investment of over $1 billion.
The investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), found that nearly half of the illegal aliens who entered the U.S. legally overstayed their visa undetected.
Other federal investigations have revealed that the U.S. has failed to properly remove millions who overstayed their visa, including DHS losing track of hundreds of dangerous foreigners that “could pose a national security or public safety concerns” the GAO said.