Judicial Watch • Millions Of Foreign Visitors Stay In U.S. Undetected

Millions Of Foreign Visitors Stay In U.S. Undetected

Millions Of Foreign Visitors Stay In U.S. Undetected

OCTOBER 13, 2009

Nearly a decade after Middle Eastern terrorists overstayed their visas to plot the deadliest attack in U.S. history the government has failed miserably to implement a crucial security program that assures foreign visitors leave the country when they’re supposed to.

Congressional investigators disclosed the inexcusable negligence in a lengthy report last year and a recent example—a Jordanian who tried to blow up a Texas high rise—proves little progress has been made to protect the nation from violent foreigners. The Jordanian (Hosam Maher Husein Smadi) who vowed jihad against Americans and tried to blow up a Dallas skyscraper last month, had overstayed his tourist visa as did several of the September 11 hijackers. 

To prevent these sorts of infiltrations, the government created a costly but highly inadequate system (U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology or US VISIT) to track the arrival and departure of foreign visitors. Billions of dollars later, the program is riddled with major flaws that allow possibly millions of foreigners to annually remain in the country when their visa expires. 

Last year nearly 3 million visitors on temporary visas checked into the U.S. but never checked out, according to a news report that quotes immigration authorities. Although officials openly admit they aren’t certain how many actually left, they estimate that about 200,000 probably stayed unbeknownst to the government, like Smadi and some of the September 11 terrorists.

Smadi, an Osama bin Laden loyal who came to the U.S. to wage jihad (holy war), was also aided by local governments that protect illegal aliens. He got an official identification card in the renowned sanctuary state of California and lived and worked in a little Texas town called Italy, located in Ellis county about 45 miles south of Dallas. The county sheriff had previously arrested Smadi but the department has a don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policy so he just paid a small fine and continued plotting his terrorist attack.

With a notoriously flawed system like US Visit there’s no telling how many Samdis are currently living in the country plotting jihad against Americans. After all, it seems that little has changed security-wise since the 9/11 hijackers pulled it off.

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