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A recent US Department of Homeland Security report on visa entry/exit overstays for fiscal year 2015 highlights glaring deficiencies in enforcement, with 1,282 individuals from countries designated as State Sponsors of Terror by the US State Department overstaying their temporary visas.
The report shows that from 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2015, people from three countries designated as State Sponsors of Terror have not exited the country before the expiration of the visas: 278 from Sudan, 440 from Syria, and 564 from Iran.
“DHS identifies individuals as possible overstays if there are no records of the departure or change in status prior to the end of their authorized admission period (i.e. suspected In-Country Overstays),” according to the report.
The report states, under the Overstay Identification and Action heading, that “the goal is to identify, locate, prosecute where applicable, and remove those overstays posing real or potential national security threats to the United States.
“This is accomplished through both broad intelligence-driven criteria on subjects that exhibit similar characteristics of known radical organizations and their participants and by activity which focuses ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) investigations on those subjects that are considered to pose a higher risk to national security.”
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Centre of Immigration Studies (CIS), notes the shortcoming of the DHS report in a blog post:
“The Government Accountability Office (GSA) has found that in recent years only 3 percent of the enforcement resources of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were dedicated to addressing overstays, and only a small number (about 8,000) overstays are removed annually, out of a total estimated population of four to 5.5 million overstays in the United States.”
While the DHS report paints a rosy picture, with the press release claiming confirmed “ departures of over 99 percent of nonimmigrant visitors,” the reality is that millions of undocumented, illegal migrants are present in the United States.