DHS Officials: Removing Visa Overstays an Impossible Mission – CQ Homeland Security

Homeland Security officials told lawmakers Thursday that even if they manage to set up a system that could detect whenever a foreign national overstays a temporary visa, they would not be able to solve the problem of finding and removing all those people.

The problem is one of sheer numbers. The department tracks foreign travelers coming to the United States with its US-VISIT program, but because of limited resources, DHS can only pursue a very small percentage of the thousands of visitors who overstay their visas each year.

“Even if the department can monitor the exit of foreign visitors through US-VISIT, it is highly unlikely that they can eliminate visa overstays altogether,” DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner told the House Homeland Security Committee. “The department can, however, improve its efforts to remove those overstays who present the biggest threat to our society — that is, terrorists, criminals and fugitives.”