Tags: Donald Trump | Immigration | donald trump | barack obama | overstay visa | immigration

Steven Brill: US Still Can't Track Foreigners Who Overstay Their Visas

Image: Steven Brill: US Still Can't Track Foreigners Who Overstay Their Visas

Suspected illegal immigrants are transferred out of the holding area after being processed at the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

By    |   Friday, 02 Sep 2016 09:49 AM

Donald Trump slammed President Barack Obama's administration for allowing visitors to the U.S. to overstay their visas, but despite multiple efforts, no system has been put in place to track if someone is staying in the country on an expired visa.

"We must send the message that visa expiration dates will be strongly enforced," Trump said on Wednesday.

Congress has been saying the same thing since 1996, but despite congressional directives to put an "entry-exit" biometric tracking system in place, no such program exists.

"I'm going to . . . develop an exit-entry tracking system to ensure those who overstay their visas are quickly removed. If we don't enforce visa expiration dates, then we have an open border - it's as simple as that," Trump said Saturday at a Des Moines, Iowa rally, from Fox News Latino

At The Atlantic, lawyer and journalist Steven Brill recounts his experience in 2002 when he sat in on a meeting between former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and executives from defense contractor Raytheon. The executives were pitching a biometric data system that would track visitors entering the country at every airport, seaport and land crossing.

The same data would be taken when visitors leave the country, and if a visa holder was not recorded leaving the country by the time their visa expired, an alarm would be sent out to federal, state and local law enforcement notifying them.

"That system sounds really complicated," Brill recalls asking one of the Raytheon executives after the meeting. "How fast could you really get it going?"

"Well, we don't have it yet, so we don't know," the executive replied. "But we know it's out there."

Since 2006, anyone entering the country has had to provide their fingerprints, but it's proven much more difficult to track people leaving. Airlines, airport police and Homeland Security could not agree on who would operate the machines or instruct people to give their fingerprints.

People leaving by crossing the border by vehicle proved even more difficult to track. Traffic would slow significantly if people were required to leave their cars to give their fingerprints, and the border crossing points were not built with exit kiosks in mind.

No full entry-exit program currently exists, despite over $600 million that's been spent on pilot programs. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told Brill that he's assured Congress that "aspects" of an exit plan will be in place by 2018.

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Donald Trump slammed President Barack Obama's administration for allowing visitors to the U.S. to overstay their visas, but despite multiple efforts, no system has been put in place to track if someone is staying in the country on an expired visa.
donald trump, barack obama, overstay visa, immigration
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2016-49-02
Friday, 02 Sep 2016 09:49 AM
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