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Thread: Congress seeks to deport more immigrants who overstay visas

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Congress seeks to deport more immigrants who overstay visas

    Congress seeks to deport more immigrants who overstay visas

    March 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM by AHN · Leave a Comment
    Tom Ramstack – AHN News Legal Correspondent

    Washington, DC, United States (AHN) – The Department of Homeland Security plans to propose to Congress soon a new biometric system for tracking immigrants who overstay their visas to the United States, a top Homeland Security Department official said Tuesday.

    The system would serve the dual function of making it easier to get rid of illegal immigrants but also avoid risks that terrorists might move to the United States and strike from within the country.

    Thirty-six people who overstayed their visas have been convicted on terrorism charges in the past decade, according to Homeland Security Department figures.

    The issue arose Tuesday during testimony by John Cohen, the Homeland Security Department’s deputy counter terrorism coordinator, before the House Homeland Security Committee.

    The first phase of the system has been tested, which allowed the Department of Homeland Security “to conduct richer, more thorough vetting for national security and public safety concerns,” Cohen said. “This generated new leads for ICE, which previously would not have been uncovered.”

    The “enhanced biographic exit plan” allows police to submit fingerprints from suspected illegal immigrants to an FBI and Homeland Security database of people who have been issued visas.

    If their visas are expired, a computer database will indicate they should no longer be in the United States, particularly if they represent a safety or crime threat.

    “This enhanced exit plan improves DHS’s ability to calculate overstays and reduce their occurrence in the future,” Cohen said.

    The Homeland Security Department has sought to develop a system for tracking “overstays” since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but only now is finalizing it.

    Support for the system gained momentum last month when Amine El Khalifi, 29, of Alexandria, VA, was arrested near the U.S. Capitol trying to carry out a suicide shooting and bombing attack.

    The Morocco native came to the United States as a teenager in 1999 on a visa that expired within one year.

    He has been living illegally in the United States since then.

    He is now charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction after an undercover FBI agent posing as an Islamic terrorist pretended to help him plot an attack at the Capitol.

    The undercover agent gave him an unusable machine gun and a vest packed with fake explosives. El Khalifi took the gun, put on the vest and started walking toward the Capitol but was arrested seconds later.

    The Homeland Security Department says that with the enhanced biographic exit plan, they could have discovered El Khalifi years ago and deported him.

    He received citations for disobeying a traffic sign and speeding in 2002 and 2006 that would have alerted Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the new system, according to the Homeland Security Department.

    Only since 2004 has the Homeland Security Department and FBI kept computerized fingerprints of immigrants, which explains why overstays often were overlooked until now, said James Ziglar, who headed the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 2001 until it was merged into the Homeland Security Department in 2002.

    “We were certainly focused on trying to find bad people and connecting the dots with the Department of State and their visa records,” Ziglar told the congressional committee. “I doubt very seriously he (El Khalifi) would have come up on the radar. He might have if you kept drilling down further and further just because of where he was from. But he would not have been, I think, an earlier target, just because there were more suspicious types.”

    A sign of the greater support Congress seems willing to dedicate to deporting illegal immigrants who overstay visas came from Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

    “Since 9/11, our border security efforts have been focused on securing our borders,” she said.

    “However, more than 40 percent of all illegal aliens do not sneak across the border, they come in through the front door and never leave.”

    Overstayed visas are likely to be one element of immigration reform proposals for which President Barack Obama said Tuesday he is seeking bipartisan support.

    Congress seeks to deport more immigrants who overstay visas | GantDaily.com
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    Senior Member ReggieMay's Avatar
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    A nice start but . . . what about Hezbolah coming across our southern border.
    "A Nation of sheep will beget a government of Wolves" -Edward R. Murrow

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    Senior Member Kiara's Avatar
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    Always nice to get some good news!!

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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