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Entry/Exit Overstay Data Collection Improving, DHS Says

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a new report it “was able to confirm departures of over 99 percent of nonimmigrant visitors scheduled to depart in Fiscal Year 2015,” and that that number is continuing to grow.”

According to DHS’s Entry/Exit Overstay Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 — which provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who were lawfully admitted into the United States for specific, temporary purposes, but overstayed their lawful admission period – of the nearly 45 million nonimmigrant visitor admissions through air or sea ports of entry expected to depart in FY 2015, DHS determined 527,127 individuals overstayed their admission, for a total overstay rate of 1.17 percent.

“In other words,” DHS stated, in FY 2015, “98.83 percent had left the United States on time and abided by the terms of their admission.”

At the end of FY 2015, DHS reported, the overall Suspected In-Country Overstay number was 482,781 individuals, or 1.07 percent.

DHS reported that, “Due to further continuing departures by individuals in this population, by January 4, 2016, the number of Suspected In-Country overstays for FY 2015 had dropped to 416,500, rendering the Suspected In-Country Overstay rate as 0.9 percent. In other words, as of January 4, DHS was able to confirm the departures of over 99 percent of nonimmigrant visitors scheduled to depart in FY 2015 via air and sea Ports of Entry, and that number continues to grow.”

According to DHS, the “report represents a snapshot of how many foreign nationals who legally entered the United States through air or sea ports of entry, and who were expected to depart the country between October 2014 and September 2015, stayed beyond their lawful admission period, and how many remain in the country as of this month.”

DHS said the “report provides an update on the department’s significant progress in identifying overstay rates and efforts to address limitations as a result of the infrastructure of US ports of entry — including airports — that was not built with immigration exit controls in mind.”

DHS said it “continues to improve the entry/exit system to better identify and track overstays.”

The report stated, “All foreign nationals are vetted against multiple national security and law enforcement databases, including the Terrorist Screening Database, before they depart for the United States to ensure they do not pose a threat to public safety or national security. Additional data collection and checks occur at a point of entry prior to admission.”

DHS conducts the overstay identification process by examining arrival, departure and immigration status information, which is consolidated to generate a complete picture of an individual’s travel to the United States.  The Department identifies two types of overstays – those individuals for whom no departure has been recorded (Suspected In-Country Overstay) and those individuals whose departure was recorded after their lawful admission period expired (Out-of-Country Overstay).

The report breaks the overstay rates down further to provide a better picture of those overstays that remain in the United States beyond their period of admission and for whom Customs and Border Protection has no evidence of a departure or transition to another  immigration status.

This report separated Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country overstay numbers from non-VWP country numbers. For VWP countries, DHS said the FY 2015 Suspected In-Country overstay rate is 0.65 percent of the 20,974,390 expected departures. For non-VWP countries, the FY 2015 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate is 1.60 percent of the 13,182,807 expected departures. DHS is in the process of evaluating whether and to what extent the data presented in this report will be used to make decisions on the VWP country designations.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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