Just two of the many categories of temporary visitors to the US accounted for more than 500,000 temporary visitors who overstayed their visas last year, House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) complained in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) release yesterday of its Entry/Exit Overstay Report for Fiscal Year 2015.
But, “The Department of Homeland Security’s report is not comprehensive because it uses biographic data, rather than biometric data, to determine overstay rates and it only looks at two categories of temporary visitors,” Goodlatte pointed out.
He said, “There is no way to truly determine how many people overstayed their visas without a biometric exit system. That said, many of the report’s findings are alarming: more than half a million visitors overstayed their visas, over 150,000 Visa Waiver Program visitors overstayed their allotted time here, and thousands of overstayers came from countries associated with terrorism, such as Iran, Sudan and Yemen.”
Goodlatte said, “We know that several of the 9/11 terrorists overstayed their visas and it is mind boggling that the Administration has still not addressed this issue even though it has the legal tools to do so.”
He said DHS’s “report should be a wakeup call for the administration to take steps to fully implement the law.”
According to DHS’s Entry/Exit Overstay Report for Fiscal Year 2015 Report — 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.
Continuing, Goodlatte said, “It’s estimated that 30 to 40 percent of unlawful immigrants came to the U. legally but overstayed their visas. To strengthen national security and the integrity of our immigration system, Congress mandated a biometric entry/exit system nearly 20 years ago but the Department of Homeland Security — under multiple administrations — has failed to fully implement it. This is unacceptable and needlessly jeopardizes Americans’ lives and national security.”