Posted by: Ann Corcoran | June 14, 2011

Visa overstays may be larger threat to security then illegal border entries

That is what the Houston Chronicle is reporting, hat tip: Janet.

According to a GAO Report as many as half of the illegal aliens in the US are “visitors” who simply disappeared into America after having entered LEGALLY with a visitor’s visa.

WASHINGTON — Nearly a decade after five suicide hijackers with expired U.S. visas helped 14 comrades carry out the Sept. 11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security and Congress have yet to come up with a fail-safe way to check foreign visitors in and out of the U.S., leaving an unknown number unaccounted for inside the country.

A 14-month inquiry by Congress’ investigative Government Accountability Office concluded the absence of a state-of-the-art system to track visitors’ departures with fraud-proof biometrics such as digital fingerprints is leaving the nation exposed to potential attack by individuals who legally enter through 327 airports and other ports of entry – and then stay beyond expiration of the routine six-month visitor visa.

As many as 5.5 million of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States may be individuals who have overstayed legal visas, according to estimates cited by the GAO. During the six years from 2005 through 2010, immigration authorities checked in 134 million visitors – 36 million from countries requiring U.S. visas and 98 million from 36 countries in the visa wavier program, such as France, the Czech Republic, Japan and Australia.

“A critical element of national security in this global age is keeping track of visitors to our country,” declared Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican. “Our law enforcement officials must have every tool at their command to locate these individuals who no longer have the legal right to be in the U.S. Anything less brings complacency and the very real danger that terrorists find new ways to attack our nation.”

Once inside the country, visitors face little scrutiny.

Read it all.


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