Just 3,000 of roughly 6 million illegal visa overstays over the last 20 years are under active investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.
The finding was revealed during a Senate Immigration Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., did a double-take when Craig Healthy, DHS assistant director for national security investigations, announced the statistic.
“So, 3,000 [overstays] were investigated, are under investigation right now. But those 3,000 could’ve come in any one of the years in the last 20 years, correct?” Perdue asked, the Washington Free Beacon reported Friday.
“That is correct, sir,” Healy said. He added that roughly 40 percent of those individuals under investigation are eventually reported, located and removed from the country.
“My question is, if it’s 40 percent of whatever that top number, we have 4, 5, 6 million people here who overstay their visa. Directionally, that’s fairly correct,” replied Perdue. “And last year, we identified and investigated 3,000? So, you can kind of see where I’m going here. We have a monumental issue here.”
Perdue then said he favored a policy that would use biometric information to track aliens temporarily granted U.S. business and tourist visas. Healy was in agreement.
“Let’s say you come across an individual who’s not completely identified,” said Healy. “You have pieces of information. Say he’s got seven aliases. Right now our analysts have to take that time to go through all of that. If we had the biometrics, we’re going to be able to cut right to the chase. A fingerprint is a fingerprint.”
The website noted on Wednesday that more than 500,000 aliens overstayed their temporary visas in 2015 alone.
Overstays from the Middle East and North Africa include:
- Afghanistan: 219
- Iraq: 681
- Iran: 564
- Libya: 56
- Pakistan: 1,435
- Syria: 440
- Yemen: 219
The DHS 2015 entry and exit overstay report said 482,000 of 527,127 aliens temporarily granted U.S. business and tourist visas were found to have stayed in the U.S. longer than legally permitted.
“By not enforcing visa overstays, the administration has flung the border open – millions get temp visas and then freely violate their entry contracts and shred their eviction notices,” the subcommittee said in a statement.