Monday, October 12, 2009

U.S. Can't Trace Foreign Visitors Who Refuse To Leave

In this article by JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. and JULIA PRESTON of the New York Times a huge problem locating foreign visitors who decide to remain in the country illegally is spotlighted and detailed.

For a long time Lou Barletta has been an outspoken critic of the inability to account for foreign visitors who remain past their authorized visa time. In fact most of the illegal aliens in this country did not enter the country illegally but remained here illegally.

New concern was focused on that security loophole last week, when Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian who had overstayed his tourist visa, was accused in court of plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper.

Last year alone, 2.9 million foreign visitors on temporary visas like Mr. Smadi’s checked in to the country but never officially checked out, immigration officials said. While officials say they have no way to confirm it, they suspect that several hundred thousand of them overstayed their visas.

Over all, the officials said, about 40 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States came on legal visas and overstayed.

Paul Kanjorski will tell you he is against illegally immigration but his oversight on this huge problem is anemic at best.

Mr. Smadi’s case has brought renewed calls from both parties in Congress for Department of Homeland Security officials to complete a universal electronic exit monitoring system.

Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the Smadi case “points to a real need for an entry and exit system if we are serious about reducing illegal immigration.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration, said he would try to steer money from the economic stimulus program to build an exit monitoring system.

Immigration analysts said that given the difficulties of enforcing the United States’ vast borders, it remains primarily up to law enforcement officials to thwart terrorism suspects who do not have records that would draw scrutiny before they enter the United States.

The article goes on to chronicle the escapades of Mr. Smadi while remaining in this country. This article leads to another post about a small town police chief who is doing one hell of a job stopping illegal aliens.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Europe, at least until a few years ago, a foreign visitor (from outside the EU) had to report to the local state police office within a certain period of time after arrival in the place where he would be residing during his stay. In more rural areas of the USA, one small office with one or two staff in each Federal District Courthouse in each state were foreigners could register would be sufficient. Depending upon what kind of visa they entered with, they could be required to report in person every so often. The infrastructure already exists. It should not cost a billion dollars.