Judicial Watch • DHS Clueless About Unauthorized Foreigners In U.S.

DHS Clueless About Unauthorized Foreigners In U.S.

DHS Clueless About Unauthorized Foreigners In U.S.

MARCH 30, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) only takes action against a “small portion” of foreigners who overstay their visa—like several of the 9/11 terrorists—and allows hundreds of thousands to enter the United States without proper authorization under a provision that already relaxes scrutiny for dozens of countries.

It gets better. When congressional investigators demanded answers from the agency, officials said they had not yet completed a review of the cases to determine the extent of the risk. Your government at work! It’s as if nothing has been learned from the 2001 terrorist attacks, when security was so lax that Middle Eastern extremists slipped right through to plan their plot from inside the country.

Outlined in an investigative congressional report, these lapses are of special concern. The first involves foreigners who enter the U.S. from 36 countries that have special visa waiver agreements with Uncle Sam. They still need authorization, though the system is more lax than a typical visa process. Foreigners must comply with a special DHS Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) that requires them to submit biographical information and answer eligibility questions before traveling.

While most of the visitors comply with the requirements, an estimated 2% don’t, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. That translates into 364,000 travelers a year, investigators found. Additionally, only half of the countries that have visa waiver agreements with the U.S. are fully compliant. The GAO points out in this latest report that it has published five others addressing the same subject yet little has been done to improve security.

It’s almost as if the monstrous agency created after the 2001 terrorist attacks to protect the nation is blowing off Congress. This theory appears to be supported by the DHS’s handling of visa over stayers.  If you recall, several of the 9/11 hijackers entered the U.S. with valid visas but simply never left. This should be an area of deep concern for the DHS, though it doesn’t appear to be.

In the course of their probe, GAO investigators found that federal agencies only take action against a “small portion” of the estimated 4 to 5.5 million who overstay their visa. Why is that? Because the specialized Homeland Security unit charged with cracking down on visa violators has “competing priorities.” As baffling as this may seem, it’s all in the report. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit is too busy with other matters, though it has “expressed an intention to augment its overstay enforcement resources,” according to the GAO.

Visa overstays have been a problem for the government for some time, even before 9/11. Last year a federal audit revealed that nearly half of the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants actually entered the U.S. legally but never left after their visa expired.


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  • sue_mullins

    We can track cattle purchases and sales back to birth when we think a cow or steer is infected with some illness…you can’t tell me that with our computerized systems we can’t keep track of people entering and moving within our country?

  • ricseib

    CAPS 2007 Study suggests up to 38 million illegal aliens occupy the USA..


  • barbarajcornett

    Would it be possible to sue international jewry in the International Court in The Hague for their control of our economy, our immigration polices, Homeland Security and the cultural engineering of our country which causes the loss of our freedoms? Also for the harmful propaganda they broadcast from every major media in our country?

    After all, they have been driven from every European place they ever lived and it seems they are behind most of our problems including the wars in the middle east which go against our interests.

  • kylefclark

    How utterly inept can one agency get, before it is done away with completely? It’s high time this incompetent government (especially this current administration) stop wasting taxpayers money on spineless boondoggles!

  • kjs420

    And these people carry guns. And they just ordered 450 million rounds of jacketed hollow point .40 cal. There are approx. 311 million citizens. Hollow points aren’t for target practice.

  • banff43

    The DHS doesn’t have time to find foreigners who overstay their visa. Their too busy keeping a watch on honest citizens who don’t like their policies.

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