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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Tech Limitations Hinder ICE Enforcement of Visa Overstays

    by BOB PRICE
    5 May 2017
    Washington, DC

    A recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report reveals the information technology (IT) used by the government is ineffective to keep tabs on those who overstay visas. Moreover, the lag also causes a delay in determining whether a visa holder poses a national security threat. There is a backlog of more than 1.2 million visa overstays.

    Auditors with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at DHS found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigations “may take months” to determine both a visa holder’s status and whether they are a threat to public safety.

    According to a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from the DHS Office of Inspector General, the IT scheme that exists presently “forc[es] ICE personnel to laboriously piece together vital information from up to 27 distinct DHS information systems and databases to accurately determine an individual’s overstay status.” The system lacks “integration and information-sharing capabilities.” The result: a stockpile of more than 1.2 million visa overstay cases.

    Another problem in keeping track of visa overstays is the absence of a biometric system at the U.S. ports of departure.

    Immigration experts with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reported in September 2013:

    Tracking the arrival and departure of foreign visitors to the United States is an essential part of immigration control. The need for arrival controls is obvious, but recording departures is also important; without it, there is no way to know whether travelers have left when they were supposed to.

    It is also vital that such exit tracking employs biometric indicators — for instance, the travelers’ photos or fingerprints. Using only biographic information, such as names or passport numbers, provides no assurance that the person departing is the one whose original arrival was recorded

    CIS reported that “a biometric exit-tracking system for aliens departing by air or sea is feasible immediately at a reasonable cost.” Estimates, based on the costs at the time, showed that implementation expenses for the first year would range from $400 million to $600 million. This estimate included significant cost overruns.

    The immigration think tank suggested that implementation could be covered with a “relatively small fee increase” on those charged to foreign nationals who come to the country via air or sea. They wrote that the expense very likely would not require a congressional appropriation. There are 40 million of these individuals who travel by air.

    Moreover, CIS reported that as of September 2013, 14 countries already had, or were in the process of getting, biometric systems for air travelers.

    ICE officials have now been given the responsibility of identifying those who overstay their visa. The workload “would be minimal with a biometric exit” system and this would “enable the agency to focus on enforcing the law rather than diverting hundreds of agents to this task as it does now.” The US-VISIT program used to be charged with determining visa overstays. ICE was given this responsibility in 2013 when the then US-VISIT program was divested of it.

    CIS reports that “the executive branch has so far refused to implement such a system.” Yet, CIS reports Congress directed that an exit system be set up (in eight different statutes since 1996) and the three most recent legislative mandates require a biometric component. Although the cost has likely increased since 2013, many immigration experts would probably urge that so has the risks to Americans.

    Officials already capture these facial images and fingerprints at airports of entry and consular offices when foreign nationals are seeking to come into the U.S. CIS reports this information is “queried an average of 30,000 times every day by authorized federal, state, and local government users.” This information is used by intelligence officers and law enforcement and is shared with other countries to arrest criminals and terrorists who change their names and other information to get safely lost in the U.S.

    “ICE must equip its personnel with the tools and training they require for the vital work of tracking visitors who overstay their visas,” said Inspector General John Roth. “Timely identification, tracking, and adjudication of potential visa overstays is critical to ICE’s public safety and national security mission.”
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Everything we do is a mess. Immigration. Trade. Obamacare. Taxes. National Security. Border Security. Public Safety. Wars. Military. Secret Service. EPA. FDA. USDA. FBI. CIA. You name it, we screw it up. EVERYTHING except TWO THINGS: Social Security and Medicare and National Park Service. Those are the only two agencies in our government that I consider near flawless.

    Social Security and Medicare are solvent with a baby boom and haven't had a payroll tax raise in 27 years for Social Security and 31 years for Medicare. And the US National Park Service is one of the lowest pay scale grades in government. Yet they work flawlessly. They maintain our parks, our national treasures, our historic structures, our artifacts. This National Park Service has even carefully retrieved, bagged, boxed, labelled and preserved every ribbon, medal, photo, letter, stuffed animal, ornament, jewelry, watch, etc., etc., etc. Americans have left at the Vietnam Memorial, and most Americans don't even know these wonderful federal workers did this and did it without a raise, additional staff or another cent in funding. They just did it because they thought these precious items of love were important artifacts of our society and culture left to honor those who died fighting a war they weren't allowed to win in the name of freedom for a little country they'd never heard of, with a name they couldn't spell or decide how to pronounce, and couldn't find on a map.

    USCIS is not getting it done. It needs a complete over-haul and shake-down, starting with the drastic change in the way it's funded. It needs to be subject to appropriated funding, subject to Congressional oversight and dependent upon annual appropriation budgeting reviews with accountability to the American People, not immigration lawyer lobbies.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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