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Judicial Watch • U.S. Ignores Immigrants With Expired Visas

U.S. Ignores Immigrants With Expired Visas

U.S. Ignores Immigrants With Expired Visas

MAY 10, 2010

While securing the border remains the focus of national attention, the government continues ignoring millions of illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. legally but never left when their visas expired like several of the 9/11 terrorists.

Nearly half of the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants fall into this category yet few are ever caught because it’s simply not a priority for the government, according to an Arizona newspaper report that provides alarming statistics on the matter. Border Patrol presence along the U.S.-Mexico border has doubled in the last five years, but there has been no effort to increase the search for illegal aliens who overstay their visas.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are apprehended at the border every year while only a few dozen visa violators are ever caught. A case in point listed in the story; the Border Patrol’s Tucson Arizona sector logged 112,488 apprehensions last fiscal year while federal agents in Arizona tracked down and arrested only 27 people who had overstayed their visas.

The Homeland Security agency in charge of tracking down foreigners who overstay visas is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is also responsible for targeting illegal workers and ensuring every alien who has been ordered removed departs the U.S. immediately. A few years ago ICE created a special unit dedicated to tracking foreigners who overstay visas. Last fiscal year the unit got nearly $70 million in federal funding to fulfill the task. About 272 investigators arrest an average of 1,400 violators a year, according to Homeland Security officials cited in the article.

At that rate the U.S. won’t ever put a dent in the number of violators, which is estimated to be between 4 and 5.5 million. This is nothing new. A few years ago a nonprofit organization dedicated to Hispanic issues released a report documenting that nearly half of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. entered through an airport or border crossing with legal visas that allowed them to visit or reside in the country for a limited time.

Yet the crucial issue of foreigners who enter the U.S. through ports of entry and subsequently overstay or otherwise violate the terms of admission, continues to be neglected if not totally overlooked, according to some immigration officials. This is abominable considering that several of the Middle Eastern terrorists who carried out the 2001 attacks lived in the U.S. with expired visas.


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