Forget about the wall or deportations or travel bans. These days, if you so much as suggest something as relatively mild as a fresh look at the number of visas we issue and how we track them you are identified as obviously being a racist. After all, we’re not talking about ISIS bombers swimming across Lake Erie to get into our country from Canada, right? These are tourists or students or temporary workers who just want to help.
Unfortunately, while that’s a popular line of argument in the legacy media these days, the visa programs currently in place have problems. And the Department of Homeland Security has highlighted yet another uncomfortable factoid for us this month, saying that more than 700K visitors of various sorts came to the United States on visas in the past fiscal year and failed to leave when they were supposed to. That we know of… (ABC News)
More than half a million foreigners stayed in the United States after their visas expired during the last fiscal year, according to a new report released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Monday.
Of the more than 50 million foreigners that entered the U.S., 1.47 percent — or 739,478 people — stayed in the country past the length of their visa. That includes those who stay one day over their allowable time, as well as people who have no intention of ever leaving the U.S.
This report shows that “we have a problem with visa overstays in the United States,” said a senior DHS official Monday, pointing out that the number of people who stayed in the U.S. illegally is close to the population of Seattle.
“The integrity of our immigration system is at stake,” the official added.
Before we get too alarmed (though this is still alarming beyond a doubt) it’s worth noting that not all 700K of those people disappeared into the shadows. Those figures include people who stayed too long by as little as a single day. While to be discouraged, that could include people who simply got bumped from their flight or came down with the flu. But there were plenty more than enough who wound up staying for a very long time or, as DHS put it, never had any intention of leaving in the first place.
So where are they coming from? The largest numbers seem to be concentrated in the nations who take part in the Visa Waiver Program with us. The most common offenders there are listed as having come from the U.K., Germany, Italy and France. Those all sound benign until you realize that those countries have all experienced terror related issues from some of their own citizens who obtained training in causing mayhem and then unleashed it on their own countrymen. Gives you something to think about, eh?
As for visa overstays from countries not participating in the program, they’re from all over the globe. Brazil had the most by a long shot, with other high totals coming from Venezuela, China, Colombia and Nigeria according to the report. Just having Venezuela on the list is enough to keep you awake at night these days.
The various visa programs are all in need of a fresh look and probably a slowdown in how many are given out until we can get a better handle on the situation. We still have no solid method of tracking people while they are in the country and, as this report shows, we’re still not where we need to be in terms of identifying the ones that actually do leave so they can be checked off the list. We’ve started developing facial recognition software applications at some airports, but as soon as you do that you’re once again immediately labeled as a racist. If you won’t let us fix the problem then at least cut down on the number of visas being issued for a while.