18 years ago today, 19 men hijacked 4 planes and orchestrated one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. Four of those terrorists came to the US on visas and then stayed after the expiration.
There was no accurate method for tracking overstays or their whereabouts. Nearly two decades after terrorists exploited the U.S. government’s inadequate, more than 700,000 foreigners with expired visas remain at large in the country.
The latest government figures, as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), show 702,000 overstays in 2017.
These disturbing stats were released just weeks after a Portuguese man with an expired visa got charged with the gruesome kidnap and murder of a young woman whose body was found bound in a suitcase on a Connecticut street.
The 24-year-old New York woman with reported depression and anxiety issues was identified by a medical examiner as the person whose body—bound at the hands and feet—was discovered stuffed into a large red suitcase ditched on a roadside in an affluent Connecticut town.
Valerie Reyes, of New Rochelle, N.Y., was reported missing Jan. 30, a day after she was last seen.
Reyes’ cause of death wasn’t immediately clear; but the same day officers made the gruesome suitcase discovery, Greenwich Police Department Captain Robert Berry said authorities were investigating the death as a homicide.
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It’s worth noting that the entire state of Connecticut is a sanctuary state. Back in 2013 the state enacted a measure prohibiting local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities by, among other things, ignoring federal detainers for migrants not here legally who were arrested after committing certain crimes.
It has been almost 18 years since that horrific event and the government still hasn’t found a way to accurately and adequately track visa over stayers. According to a Judicial Watch report, they obtained Department of Homeland Security (DHS) figures in 2015 showing that 527,127 foreigners with expired visas remained in the country.
Thousands of those are from nations with links to terrorism. Per that report, the breakdown is: 1,435 from Pakistan, 681 from Iraq, 564 from Iran, 440 from Syria, 219 from Yemen, 219 from Afghanistan and 56 from Libya.
Following the 9/11 attack, Congress created the U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology system to track the entry and exit of foreign nationals by using electronically scanned fingerprints and photographs. Five years and $1 billion later, it still has serious flaws.
The GAO has since published a report that said nearly half of the nation’s immigrants who are no longer here legally, entered the U.S. legally and overstayed their visas undetected.
As stated by Judicial Watch:
In the years that followed the government did little to improve what has developed into a dire national security disaster.
In 2011 yet another federal auditconfirmed that the U.S. had lost track of millions who overstayed their visas and two years later the crisis intensified when DHS lost track of 266 dangerous foreigners with expired visas.
The government determined that they “could pose a national security or public safety concerns,” according to the director of Homeland Security and Justice at the GAO.
You read the correctly. The Department of Homeland Security lost track of 266 dangerous immigrants with expired visas.
The latest GAO report shows that about 52.7 million nonimmigrant admissions to the U.S. through air or sea ports of entry were supposed to depart in fiscal year 2017.
Part of the problem is that DHS relies on third-party departure data. This includes commercial carrier passenger manifests. In other words, the government is depending on airlines and cruise ships to help it enforce visa violations.
Now, to make matters worse, we have presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren who plan to decriminalize improper border crossings and visa overstays.
She’s introduced her plan to decriminalize immigration, welcome more refugees and focus enforcement on only security threats. Her open borders approach is in stark contrast to the stance taken by the Trump administration.
Warren, a Massachusetts senator, said the Trump administration’s harsh treatment of migrants, to include separating undocumented children and parents at the border, is based on a law known as Section 1325.
It allows for criminal penalties for illegally entering the U.S. or entering legally and overstaying a visa. Warren wants to repeal the provision and indicated that she would use executive power to reduce its enforcement as president.
“We should repeal this criminal prohibition to prevent future abuse,” Warren wrote in a Medium.com post.
She vowed that as president she would:
“immediately issue guidance to end criminal prosecutions for simple administrative immigration violations” and “refocus our limited resources on actual criminals and real threats.”
So, to translate: Warren wants to allow anyone who wants to walk into this nation to do so with no consequences. She wants to give free reign to anyone and everyone. Given that she is in favor of free healthcare for those not here legally, her plan could get extremely expensive.
This plan came in conjunction with President Trump’s announcement that he will take executive action on the 2020 U.S. Census to include a citizenship question in the population count.
There are also credible indications that mass arrests of thousands of undocumented people are expected to begin Sunday, assuming sanctuary proponents don’t tip them all off first.
Warren, like most of other Democratic hopefuls, refuses to grasp the concept that making an illegal action legal doesn’t make the inherent problems go away.
Among the other aspects that she cannot grasp, the senator is just one of the crowd when it comes to accusing the current administration of atrocities that were actually perpetrated in the Obama years.
Obama’s immigration shortcomings notwithstanding, Warren said she would create a Justice Department task force to investigate what she referred to as criminal abuses of immigrants by Trump administration officials.
An excerpt from Bloomberg News states:
“In his 2016 campaign, Trump mobilized voters with an anti-immigration message focused on building a wall and removing undocumented people, successfully capitalizing on grievances about demographic and cultural changes that have made the U.S. more diverse. Warren’s plan is sure to amplify the president’s claim that Democrats are embracing an “open borders” immigration policy — most of her rivals have not gone as far.”
Warren’s plan is merely political pandering. It is aimed at a growing pro-immigration constituency in the Democratic Party, the Latino community specifically.
“Immigrants have always been a vital source of American strength. They grow our economy and make our communities richer and more diverse. They are our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends,” Warren wrote. “President Trump sees things differently. He’s advanced a policy of cruelty and division that demonizes immigrants.”
Warren is calling for the outlawing of private detention facilities and limiting detentions to people who pose a security or flight risk, who could be tracked and monitored with technology. She wants to end ‘warrantless’ arrests and instead focus on smuggling, trafficking and spotting counterfeit products.
So, Warren’s plan does not fix the issues with the current issues of tracking visa overstays, it decriminalizes them. Not only will there be zero incentive under her plan for migrants to come into the country, there will be no incentive for them to remain on the abiding side of the law once they are here.
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