Skip to content

Judicial Watch • DHS Celebrates: Only 527,127 Overstay Visa, Thousands from Terrorist Nations

DHS Celebrates: Only 527,127 Overstay Visa, Thousands from Terrorist Nations

DHS Celebrates: Only 527,127 Overstay Visa, Thousands from Terrorist Nations

JANUARY 21, 2016

Nearly 15 years after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, the government admits that more than half a million foreigners with expired visas—like the 9/11 jihadists—remain in the country and thousands are from terrorist nations like Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria.

Even more disturbing is that the Obama administration is spinning this alarming information as a positive thing, stressing that the overwhelming majority of foreigners who visited the U.S. in fiscal year 2015 with visas left before their temporary permit expired. No matter how the administration twists it, the bottom line is that 527,127 foreign nationals with expired visas are still inside the U.S., according to the figures which were released this week by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Of those 3,614 are from countries with documented ties to terrorism. Here’s the breakdown as per the DHS stats: 1,435 from Pakistan, 681 from Iraq, 564 from Iran, 440 from Syria, 219 from Yemen, 219 from Afghanistan and 56 from Libya.

Tens of thousands more from a number of other nations of concern have also blown off the terms of their visa and remain in the U.S., including droves from Mexico and the Central American countries that benefit from Obama’s amnesty initiatives when they come illegally through the southern border. The DHS figures reveal that 45,272 Mexicans overstayed their visa as did 3,284 visitors from El Salvador, 5,872 from Ecuador and 12,729 Venezuelans. Of interesting note is that of the 1.8 million visas the U.S. granted citizens of Communist China, 18,246 never left. The visas are granted for “business or pleasure” and the foreigners come via a sea or air port of entry.

DHS pats itself on the back in a press release that says the agency was able to confirm departures of over 99 percent of nonimmigrant visitors scheduled to leave the U.S. in 2015. That number keeps growing, the announcement states, adding that the agency “continues to improve the entry/exit system to better identify and track overstays.” DHS assures that all foreign nationals are vetted against multiple national security, law enforcement and terrorist databases to ensure they don’t pose a threat. The monstrous agency created after 9/11 to keep the nation safe also concedes that “the process of matching data to determine overstays has been extremely difficult” because “the United States did not build its border, aviation, and immigration infrastructure with exit processing in mind.”

It’s astounding that a decade and a half after Middle Eastern terrorists exploited the visa system’s weaknesses to carry out their attack, the problems persist. At least four of the September 11 hijackers were in the United States with expired visas and all these years later the government still hasn’t found a way to track visa over stayers. Back in 2006 Judicial Watch wrote about a system created by Congress after 9/11 with great fanfare to track the entry and exit of foreign nationals by using electronically scanned fingerprints and photographs. Five years and $1 billion later, the system, U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT), still had serious flaws. Two years after that boondoggle was exposed the investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), published a report that said nearly half of the nation’s illegal aliens entered the U.S. legally and overstayed their visas undetected.

In the years that followed the government did little to improve what has developed into a dire national security disaster. In 2011 yet another federal audit confirmed that the U.S. had lost track of millions who overstayed their visas and two years later the crisis intensified when DHS lost track of 266 dangerous foreigners with expired visas. The government determined that they “could pose a national security or public safety concerns,” according to the director of Homeland Security and Justice at the GAO.


© 2010-2016 Judicial Watch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.