January 1, 2016

"U.S. Doesn’t Know How Many Foreign Visitors Overstay Visas."

The NYT reports:
Nearly 20 years ago, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to develop a system to track people who overstayed their visas.... Since then, the federal government has spent millions of dollars on the effort.... One widely cited statistic, from a 1997 report by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, puts the number of people who overstay their visas at 40 percent, about 4.4 million of the estimated 11 million undocumented residents in the United States....

49 comments:

mccullough said...

This is unconscionable after 9/11 when 18 of the 19 terrorists were here on tourist/business visas and 1 on a student visa.

The US issues 500,000 student visas a year and 58,000 students overstayed their visas last year. The government said that 6,000 of them pose a security concern and are trying to track them down.

The penalty for overstaying a visa should be harsh.

Michael K said...

This is a big reason why no one but looney lefties trust the US government to check on immigrants.

mc said...

That '11 MILLION' figure is the most insulting lie. They have been using it for years and years.

There will be no encouraging sign until the fourth estate is Googling "tar and feather life hacks."

Sammy Finkelman said...

There's a reason no administration has wanted to keep track of people who overstay visas.

The penalties are too great, and the people charged with the practical consequences to U.S. foreign policy know it.

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/us-immigration/consequences-of-overstaying-on-temporary-visa.html.

If the penalty was a small fine per day that never rose too high if less than a year elapsed, and even if more was payable, there would not be so much reluctance to track how long people stay in the United States.

As it is now, overstayers may be denied visas or admission for up to ten years or even forever without special permission. An overstay between 180 days and a year leads to a 3-year bar from entering the United States, and an overstay of 365 days or more leads to a bar of ten years. A combination of more than one overstay totalling 365 days leads to a permanent bar.

Even small stays lead to barring from the visa waiver program:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/i-overstayed-week-can-i-return-the-us-the-visa-waiver-program.html

This would wreck havoc with international conferences and international trade.

People from Europe might overstay after coming at the age of 17 or while in college and then run into trouble, and create trouble for Americans, years later.

The problem is avoided by not keeping track of when somebody leaves. If the government does not know when someone leaves, they don't know hiow long they stayed.

They KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING

It's Congress that doesn't know what it si doing, because nobody argues against these penalties.

Sebastian said...

But, but, Trump!

Question for Progs: what evidence of government incompetence might cause you to lose faith?

MikeR said...

"Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to develop a system..." Always a good idea to give the federal government things to do. We can rest assured that they will be taken care of competently.

The Drill SGT said...

The question from the congressman to the Obama administration official was straightforward enough: How many foreign visitors overstay their visas every year?

Nor do we know their names.

While Ms. Malik did not overstay her visa, the attack added to fears that a terrorist could exploit gaps in the system.

However, the Muslim guy who bought the guns was married to a Russian who overstayed her education visa, then did the marry for green card trick.



Fritz said...

"Don't turn on the lights, 'cause I don't want the see"

Three Dog Night.

Mike Sylwester said...

Nothing was done during the eight years of the GWB Administration.

Nothing has been done during the seven years of the Obama Administration.

If a foreigner does not leave the USA when his visa is expired, then he should become ineligible for another visa for at least five years. The longer he has overstayed his visa, the longer he will be ineligible for another visa.

A person in the USA on an expired visa should be ineligible to apply for residence on the basis of marriage to a US citizen.

If a person overstays his visa, then he should be deported immediately. If he wants to appeal the decision, he must go to the US consulate in his home country to undertake the appeal. He may not stay inside the USA to appeal a deportation for overstaying a visa.

The next US President should order that the US Government assemble official data counting the number of people who have simply overstayed their visas and subsequently have been granted residency and then citizenship. How many millions of foreigners have done so? Why isn't the US public allowed to know such numbers?

The next US President should explain to the public also why 20 years have passed since the Congress ordered the US Government to record the exits of foreigners who have entered on visas. How much money and effort has the US Executive Branch expended to develop this tracking system? What has been done and what has not been done in those 20 years? Why is its completion still delayed into the infinite future?

Also, why isn't the public allowed to know the numbers of foreigners who have been imprisoned in the USA for committing felonies? The next US President should order that such statistics be assembled and published.

Big Mike said...

Twenty years? That covers more than half of the Clinton administration, all of the Bush administration, and all of the Obama administration. Doesn't sound as though that's much of a priority for anyone.

Until skyscrapers come crashing down, and apparently not even then.

David Aitken said...

How hard is it to put a Last Date Checked In field in the record and run a report where the date is more than 90 days old? Or check the Expire Date on the visa and do the same?

Tarrou said...

No matter. I've been assured that we fully and completely vet all people who enter the country. Why, you'd have to be some sort of racist to think that the government bureaucracies might not have any clue even how many people are here illegally! The only non-racist course of action is to allow anyone who wants to to enter any country they want to, and any terrorism or crime that results is your fault, for not letting them in faster and not making them feel welcome enough!

Now hit yourself with this rope until the white guilt subsides!

MayBee said...

A lot of countries have passport checks both on the way in and the way out of the country. With so much computing power these days, it seems we could start doing that and much more easily track overstayers. Rudy Giuliani used to talk about this, when he was campaigning for president (sob).

Our immigration policies are nuts.

Xmas said...

I've been to airports in a lot of countries. The US is the only one I know if that doesn't have dedicated terminals for departing international flights. Europe has the Schengen zone which are international flights without passport control, but that is a very special case. And there are airports with terminals built for the big transoceanic planes, but there is no passport control getting into those terminals to board a flight.

Quaestor said...

There should be a lesson here to those "throw a law at it" types who think government is the fount of solutions rather than the malbolge of problem-creation.

DKWalser said...

In the late 1970s I was in Italy serving a 2-year church mission, the Italian government required me to report to the local police station whenever I changed residences. Each police station made a note of when my visa expired and I'm confident they would have come looking for me if I'd overstayed my visa. They might not have been able to find me, but they would have known I had overstayed my visa.

It was a simple, paper-based system that even the Italian government could implement. I cannot believe the US government cannot develop something that would work equally well given today's technology. I assume they have failed to develop a system because they don't want to know the answers it would produce.

Bay Area Guy said...

This breeds mucho confidence in the Government's "vetting" of immigrants, no? Can't even keep track of the temporary ones already here.

Quaestor said...

11 million undocumented residents in the United States...

It's well passed time to turn off the propaganda machine. I wonder if the NYT will have to be reduced to a garage sale before accurate and unbiased news copy will be printed there.

MountainMan said...

I can recall when I was a child in the late 50's or early 60's when I was home from school in the summer that the government used to run a PSA on television several times a day for resident aliens. It was a little cartoon explaining to all resident aliens they were required by a certain date (July 1, perhaps?) to go to the nearest US Post Office and fill out and return a card reporting on their current status and address of residence. Does anyone else recall that?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Racist!!

rcocean said...

Yep, they've spent millions but gosh darn it they still track those visa over stayers. Because its so gosh darn difficult.

Enforcing the immigration laws is always difficult, when you don't want to do it.

Just build the dang fence.

walter said...

Man..the number of "jobs Americans won't do" is staggering!

cubanbob said...

Sammy has a point. No one wants to see. As long as the visitor can never apply for benefits or permanent residence status and ineligible through marriage for same why not grant year long visas?

Sammy Finkelman said...

Mike Sylwester said...

If a foreigner does not leave the USA when his visa is expired, then he should become ineligible for another visa for at least five years. The longer he has overstayed his visa, the longer he will be ineligible for another visa.

The way it stands now:

If a foreigner overstays his or her visa by even one day maybe, he is ineligible for the visa waiver program, and must pay about $450 or whatever for a visa application (non-refundable) with maybe a 10% chance of being turned down.

The rules state that once turned down, a turndown must be reported to the next U.S. official, which could result in someone being turned down repeatedly for not much of a reason beyond the fact that he's been turned down before.

If a foreigner overstays more than 180 days he is ineligible for 3 years.

If a foreigner overstays more than 365 days - one time - he is ineligible for 10 years.

If a foreigner overstays more than 365 days total in combined stays he is ineligible forever.

And that's why no administration has developed a visa overstay tracking system.





Sammy Finkelman said...

What Congress wnats to track is who is leaving the United states so it could be determined who has overstayed a visa.

As I said, it is no accident that this is not done.

If the penalty was a $10 or even a $50 fine per day, or per week, to be paid upon the next trup to the United States, this would be done.

rehajm said...

Two weeks after the Democratic administration leaves office we will know how many foreign visitors have overstayed their visas.

AJ Lynch said...

At Universal Studio in Orlando, they use a fingerprint recognition system to lock and unlock lockers you can use to store your bags etc before you go on one of their rides.

How hard would it be to adapt a similar system where each foreigner has to log in every 30 days so we could track their whereabouts? I bet such a system could be incorporated into bank ATM's so the bleeding hearts couldn't view it as an undue burden for our foreign "guests".

eric said...

A lot to discuss here. Read on if you don't mind my long winded explanation of what's happening here.

Allow me to give some credentials. I've been working US Immigration since the Clinton Era. Since before this law was passed. Hopefully I know what I'm talking about.

Without getting into the specifics of each administration (Because it's our overall governments fault, not any party in particular) here are the issues.

It's not about the Visa. Saying they are Visa overstays is a way to confuse the issue.

When someone enters the country, their visa could be valid for several years, or for one day. But the moment they enter into the United States, right there on the border, they are issued a permit. A form we call the I-94. The I-94 gives you your length of stay depending on what sort of a Visa you present. For example, if you present a student visa (F1) then you are admitted for D/S, which stands for Duration of Status. This can be a big problem because it's difficult to determine when a student is out of status. Sure, it seems simple, but it's not. And since there is no firm date, it's their actions that determine when they are out of status. If we can't keep track of people who stay past their admission date, how do we keep track of students who aren't acting like students anymore and are therefore "out of status"??

Another example, the most common example, is a visitors visa (B2). When you enter on a visitors visa, you are admitted for 6 months. Even if your visa were to expire tomorrow, you are admitted for 6 months. Even if you plan to leave in 3 days, you are admitted for 6 months. It doesn't matter what you tell CBP when you enter, whether it's a week you want to stay or a month or five months, you are given a 6 month admission.

The second most common example is the Visa Waiver. This is someone who comes from a Visa Waiver country (Like the UK) and has a valid issued passport from that country. If you come into the United States from the UK today, you will be given 90 days to visit the United States. Again, doesn't matter how much time you ask for. If you want a week or if you want several months, you're given a 90 day stay. The only requirement is that your passport is valid for the entire length of stay (Passport validity is different than visa validity and of course, you don't even have a visa if you're getting a Visa Waiver).

There are, of course, many more ways to enter the country legally. Many more visa's one can enter on, to work, or to perform in a band, or olympics, etc. But these three, students, visitors for pleasure and visa waivers are the most common.

You fix these three things and you fix a lot of our "Visa Overstay" problem.

The student visa thing is a particular bee in my bonnet. We make it way, way, way too easy to become an authorized school for international students. As a result, we have schools in this country, located in strip malls, with 2 employees, that take in 1500 students a year. Students who live in New York, or the south, and the school is located in Los Angeles.

The F1 student program is a huge mess. Someone comes into government and cleans that program up and you'd go a long way to getting rid of visa overstays.

Alan Anderson said...

was Feb 1 in the 40's, had to go with Grandma Davidson to the PO an fill out a form..

ganderson said...

I remember those resident alien ads. I also remember on the old Batman tv show how once when Batman was walking up the side of a building Colonel Klink popped out. Batman reminded him, that as a resident alien he needed to register with the local authorities.

Michael K said...

"A lot of countries have passport checks both on the way in and the way out of the country."

The airlines have records of those leaving that way and it is a big share. I agree they don't want to know. That is going to change, I was expecting a New Years terrorist incident. It will come.

James Pawlak said...

Perhaps, Mr. Obama's mal-administration does not wish to know---As many of such critters are Muslims: On student visas who never went to university classes; And, even trained military personnel who have "disappeared" into the USA.










averagejoe said...

is the INS the source for the 11 million "undocumented" figure? And id 40% of foreigners are overstaying their visas, then there is a significant problem with visa enforcement.

CWJ said...

MountainMan,

I remember those ads as well. I wonder when that requirement changed and why.

eric said...

Blogger averagejoe said...
is the INS the source for the 11 million "undocumented" figure? And id 40% of foreigners are overstaying their visas, then there is a significant problem with visa enforcement.


The INS was abolished in 2003 and replaced with the Department of Homeland Security. Or rather, it was folded into the Department of Homeland Security and the employees who made up the INS were separated into three different groups. CBP, CIS and ICE.

Blogger Michael K said...
"A lot of countries have passport checks both on the way in and the way out of the country."

The airlines have records of those leaving that way and it is a big share. I agree they don't want to know. That is going to change, I was expecting a New Years terrorist incident. It will come.


Yes, but there are a lot of people who don't leave by airline. They cross the land border instead and fly from there. It's not uncommon for someone to drive to Vancouver and then fly to Asia from there.

Pugsley the Pug said...

This administration, using the IRS, found and fined 7.5 million taxpayers in 2014 (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 12/31/15) for failing to purchase health insurance under the "Affordable" Care Act (a fine example of Doublespeak from our government). Yet, they can't track foreign visitors who came here legally with our current technology? The US is just begging the bad guys to come here to do mayhem. I recall Barry mouthing an oath of some sort, twice, to uphold the Constitution and laws of our country, of which immigration is a part of, but has failed to do so many times that the MSM doesn't care to hold him accountable, unless you count an occasional article like this one from the NYT where they basically only bemoan the facts. But, hey, the MSM hailed Barry as the Messiah when he took office that it is someone else's fault that this is occurring as part of his watch. I do agree hat Clinton and Bush deserve some of the blame but Barry seems to have showed a 100% indifference to our country's safety compared to his 2 predecessors.

Mike Sylwester said...

MountainMan
I can recall .... that the government used to run a PSA on television several times a day for resident aliens. .... all resident aliens they were required by a certain date ... to go to the nearest US Post Office and fill out and return a card reporting on their current status and address of residence. Does anyone else recall that?

I remember it very well.

MadisonMan said...

We make it way, way, way too easy to become an authorized school for international students.

Schools (such as the UW) make lots and lots of money off of International Students.

MikeR's comment at 11:58 nailed it completely.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Every 20 years or so Congress passes a useful law.

Then the Executive ignores the law and Congress falls back into uselessness.

Mac McConnell said...

The 11 million undocumented alien number is bogus. Truth is that the government has no idea how many live in the USA. The 11 million number is based on decades old census numbers.

Mike Sylwester said...

Sammy Finkelman
The way it stands now .... If a foreigner overstays his or her visa by even one day .... If a foreigner overstays more than 180 days he is ineligible for 3 years ....
more than 365 days total in combined stays he is ineligible forever.


Thanks for the info.

The next President should immediately publish an official history of the non-enforcement of this law.

In general, the next President should immediately publish various official studies about the non-enforcement of our immigration laws and the consequences.

Better late than never, the public should be informed about the facts.

In fact, the Republican candidates can begin now to demand government information about immigration that remains secret. For example, how many foreign-born people are in US prisons right now?

Crimso said...

'If we can't keep track of people who stay past their admission date, how do we keep track of students who aren't acting like students anymore and are therefore "out of status"??'

Althouse's Law notwithstanding ("Better than nothing is a high standard," which I generally agree with), we are periodically throughout the semester required to report the last date of attendance for each student in our classes. This is info required by and passed along to the Feds. Of course, it has nothing to do with immigration, but rather student loan requirements. Still, using lack of attendance past a certain date as evidence a student was no longer a student (and their visa is immediately revoked) is more checking than they're doing now. Not like it would entail a huge new bureaucratic apparatus. Maybe that's the problem. If it did, it would be more likely to be implemented. Poorly, to be sure. But, better than nothing...

Terry said...

The fact that INS can't keep track of foreigners in the US is less surprising than the fact that so many of out national political leaders, Dems and Republicans both, can't figure out why the American people don't trust them on immigration.

Michael K said...

"They cross the land border instead and fly from there. It's not uncommon for someone to drive to Vancouver and then fly to Asia from there."

Oh yes but I suspect there are thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands who arrive and leave on airlines who could be checked.

Crimso said...

I know the 9/11 attacks have been referenced by some people above, but I don't recall that anyone noted that some (3, I think) of the hijackers had overstayed their visas. Given the penchant for anti-gun activists (anti-self-defense activists, anti-human rights activists of the worst sort) to clamor for laws (or, in the case of Obama, issue executive orders) that would have done nothing to stop the crime about which they are so indignant, it certainly makes sense that 14 years later we still probably wouldn't have caught them.

Terry said...

I have seen the number of immigrants in this country explode since I was young, despite the laws passed by the peoples' representatives. The people want one level of immigration, the elites, of both parties, want another. That is the nature of the 'immigration crisis.'
If you believe that any restrictions on immigration will be acceptable to the elites, you are nuts. If we gave amnesty to all the illegals already here, and set up a generous guest worker program, it would still not stem the tide. Any argument in favor of the current system of non-enforcement will be equally valid if we give amnesty to all the illegals and set up a generous guest worker program. If we hand out work visas to 4 million guest workers each year, we will still be excluding people who want to work in the United States. Any restriction on the number of immigrants will not be acceptable to the elites, and they are the people in charge of enforcing immigration law. The strongest argument against the idea that the United States has a republican form of government is the current reality of open immigration. We are not a self-ruling people, we are a people ruled by a de facto aristocracy who make the laws for the rest of us, to suit themselves and their social class.

gbarto said...

I was very briefly a Designated School Official, the on-site person who logs into a government system to report when students are in status or out of status. Our organization takes it pretty seriously since there is a lot of money involved and you can have your ability to issue I-20s yanked if you aren't complying. In theory, the government should at least be able to get a tally of students reported out of status by running a report. That won't help with non-compliant schools, but it would be a good starting point. Likewise, people who come here on a B-1 are sponsored by a company. If there isn't a mechanism for them to report that someone brought here on a B-1 visa is no longer with the company, there ought to be. That said, the people who choose which data system to buy are usually managers, not data scientists, and it is likely that those who are asked to get the data are forced to use what was produced by people with connections, not people who know what they're doing. We should have the data but we might not know how to get it.

eric said...

Blogger Michael K said...
"They cross the land border instead and fly from there. It's not uncommon for someone to drive to Vancouver and then fly to Asia from there."

Oh yes but I suspect there are thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands who arrive and leave on airlines who could be checked.


They are. This is already done.

But, of those who don't, how do you count them? You don't know who is still here and who has left by the land border.

That was my point.

Rob said...

Knew this since I've ever traveled. Other countries check when you come and go. US doesn"t check when you leave. For 25 years I've been traveling, I thought it was absurd.