Jordan Candler / January 20, 2016

Half a Million Foreigners Overstay Their Visas

Potential terrorists are undoubtedly among them.

The Department of Homeland Security this week published its Entry/Exit Overstay Report For Fiscal Year 2015. The Visa Waiver Program study “provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who were lawfully admitted into the United States for specific, temporary purposes, but overstayed their lawful admission period.” From the report: “In FY 2015, of the nearly 45 million nonimmigrant visitor admissions through air or sea ports of entry that were expected to depart in FY 2015, DHS determined that 527,127 individuals overstayed their admission, for a total overstay rate of 1.17 percent.” And “more than 90 percent of those who remained in the country illegally, a total of 482,781, were believed to still be present through the end of last year,” the Washington Examiner reports.

Even a fraction of that number would be concerning. Adds the Examiner, “[A] number of countries with ties to terrorism had significant numbers of nationals still in the U.S. accounted for by the federal government: 1,435 from Pakistan, 681 from Iraq, 564 from Iran, 440 from Syria, 219 from Yemen, 219 from Afghanistan, and 56 from Libya.” This particular study doesn’t take other significant visa programs into account, so the actual number of nonimmigrants who are still in the U.S. despite having expired visas is higher. Among the ways terrorists can slip through under the radar, none are more obvious than our broken visa system. After all, those overstaying visas account for somewhere between 40% and 50% of illegals in this country.

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