A new report from the Inspector General shows that DHS is catching less than 1% of people who stay in the U.S. after their visas have expired. In 2015 ICE arrested only 3,402 visa overstayers out of the estimated 527,127, or 1 out of every 150 cases.
The report also shows that there is a massive backlog of 1.2 million visa cases that ICE has yet to investigate. The report attributes the low apprehension rate and huge backlog to the agency’s flawed technology. In order to figure out if someone has overstayed their visa ICE officers must use 27 different computer systems.
Even after all of that they can still get false departure information or spend over 50 hours on one suspect just to find out that the immigrant should not have been categorized as an overstay.
"Such false departure information resulted in [Enforcement and Removal Operations] officers closing visa overstay investigations of dangerous individuals, such as suspected criminals, who were actually still in the United States and could pose a threat to national security," the investigators wrote in the audit. "For example, [a deportation] officer stated that a suspect under investigation was listed as having left the country, but had given his ticket to a family member and was still residing in the United States."
Congress first mandated an electronic entry/exit system to track foreign visitors in 1996 in the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, but the system was never created.
Then the 9/11 Commission recommended a biometric entry/exit system after the 2001 terrorist attack in which four of the terrorists entered the U.S. on visas and overstayed. Congress approved the system in 2004 and has appropriated funding for the creation of the program six times, but a system has yet to be implemented.
Read more on this story at The Washington Times.
Updated: Tue, May 23rd 2017 @ 9:28am EDT