"Homeland Security loses track of 1 million foreigners; report could hurt immigration deal"

Hi Gang:
The Washington Times published a disturbing report on July 20, 2013 entitled:
The Homeland Security Department has lost track of more than 1 million people who it knows arrived in the U.S. but who it cannot prove left the country, according to an audit Tuesday that also found the department probably won’t meet its own goals for deploying an entry-exit system.

The findings were revealed as Congress debates an immigration bill, and the Government Accountability Office’s report could throw up another hurdle because lawmakers in the House and Senate have said that any final deal must include a workable system to track entries and exits and cut down on so-called visa overstays.

The government does track arrivals, but is years overdue in setting up a system to track departures — a goal set in a 1996 immigration law and reaffirmed in 2004, but which has eluded Republican and Democratic administrations.

“DHS has not yet fulfilled the 2004 statutory requirement to implement a biometric exit capability, but has planning efforts under way to report to Congress in time for the fiscal year 2016 budget cycle on the costs and benefits of such a capability at airports and seaports,” GAO investigators wrote.

The Homeland Security Department has lost track of more than 1 million people who it knows arrived in the U.S. but who it cannot prove left the country, according to an audit Tuesday that also found the department probably won’t meet its own goals for deploying an entry-exit system.

The findings were revealed as Congress debates an immigration bill, and the Government Accountability Office’s report could throw up another hurdle because lawmakers in the House and Senate have said that any final deal must include a workable system to track entries and exits and cut down on so-called visa overstays.

It must be remembered that the Immigration Reform Act of 1996 mandated that US-VISIT be implemented.  This is a system that tracks the arrival and departure of arriving nonimmigrant visitors.
The 9/11 Commission identified the ability to track arrival and departure of nonimmigrant aliens as an absolute priority for national security.
Accenture was given a contract worth more than billion dollars nearly a decade ago to implement US VISIT and yet the system is still dysfunctional.  Accenture, it should be noted, is an off-shore company that was a subsidiary of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm associated with the ENRON fiasco.  Accenture was, at the time it was given the contract to implement US-VISIT, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda but is now based in Ireland.
Even when aliens violate the terms of their admission into the United States ICE does virtually nothing to attempt to locate or arrest them and seek to have them removed from the United States.
On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic:


In May, 2010 I was interviewed by CNN’s Casey Wian for a report that was titled, “Tracking Down Visa Violators.”

On May 10, 2010 I was interviewed by Daniel Gonzalez, a reporter with the Arizona Republic for an news report titled, “U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas.”

On July 1, 2013 Californians for Population Stabilization posted my commentary:
The point I made in that piece is that unlike what we are constantly led to believe by all too many of our political leaders, the United States is not a country with just 4 “Border States” but a country with “50 Border States.”  Any state that has a seaport or international airport must be considered as much a border state as are those states that lie along America’s northern and southern borders.
It is important to remember that most of the terrorists who have attacked our nation or sought to attack our nation were admitted into the United States via the lawful entry process and although they all committed visa fraud when they secured their visas and a number of them overstayed their authorized period of admission, nothing was done to take them into custody and nothing of consequence has been done to plug this gaping hole in the system. Furthermore, aliens who enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program don’t even have to fill out an application for a visa in the first place.  

I have compiled a list of the six ways in which the visa process can be helpful to law enforcement and bolster our nation’s efforts to prevent the entry of aliens whose presence on our country may prove harmful to our nation and our citizens.  Under the Visa Waiver Program, not one of these important benefits applies:

  1. By requiring visas of aliens who seek to enter the United States, this process helps to screen potential passengers on airliners that are destined to the United States.
  2. The CBP inspectors are supposed to make a decision in one minute or less as to the admissibility of an alien seeking to enter the United States.  The visa requirement helps them to do a more effective job. There’s is a tough job I can certainly relate to, I began my career at the former INS as an immigration inspector at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and worked there for four years before I became a special agent.
  3. The application for a nonimmigrant visa contains roughly 40 questions that could provide invaluable information to law enforcement officials should that alien become the target of a criminal or terrorist investigation.  The information could provide intelligence as well as investigative leads.  You can check out the application for a nonimmigrant (tourist) visa by clicking on this link:
  4. If an alien applicant lies on the application for a visa that lie is called “visa fraud.”  The maximum penalty for visa fraud starts out at 10 years in jail for those who commit this crime simply in order to come to the United States, ostensibly to seek unlawful employment or other such purpose.  The penalty increases to 15 years in jail for those aliens who obtain a visa to commit a felony.  For aliens who engage in visa fraud to traffic in narcotics or commit another narcotics-related crime, the maximum jail sentence that can be imposes rises to 20 years.  Finally, when an alien can be proven to have engaged in visa fraud in furtherance of terrorism, the maximum penalty climbs to 25 years in prison.  It is important to note that while it may be difficult to prove that an individual is a terrorist, it is usually relatively simple to prove that the alien has committed visa fraud when there is fraud involved in the visa application.  Indeed, terror suspects are often charged with visa fraud.
  5. The charge of visa fraud can also be extremely helpful to law enforcement authorities who want to take a bad guy off the street without tipping their hand to the other members of a criminal conspiracy or terrorism conspiracy that the individual arrested was being arrested for his involvement in terrorism or a criminal organization.  You can arrest the alien who commits visa fraud for that violation of law and not for other charges that might make it clear that the investigation underway is targeting a criminal or terrorist organization.
  6. Even when an alien applies for a visa and his application is denied, the application he filed remains available for law enforcement and intelligence personnel to review to seek to glean intelligence from that application.
It is important to understand that among the key pre-requisites for a country to participate in the Visa Waiver Program is that it provides its citizens with machine-readable passports that involved biometrics, that the country’s citizens not have a visa refusal rate of more than 3% and a 2% overstay rate as well as a low rate for being denied entry.  
Here is the link to the State Department’s website enumerating the standards that must be met by countries that participate in the program:
While I have no direct evidence to substantiate this, I believe that there is a real motivation for the US-VISIT system to be incapable of accurately tracking the departure of aliens is to make certain that overstay rates don’t prevent countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program to lose their standing because of high overstay and visa violation rates.  This is a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell situation.”
On September 11, 2001 about 27 countries participated in the Visa Waiver Program.  Today that number has jumped to 37 and pressure continues to be applied by the members of the Discover America Partnership program to continue increasing the number of participating countries.  It is unfathomable that executives who are in the tourism business and other such businesses are able to influence the United States government to the extent that national security is being compromised for the sake of tourism and profit.  A hotel executive may know how to run a hotel and make certain that the guests of the hotel are likely to have clean sheets and towels, but lacks the knowledge to deal with national security issues!
Here are some other links to articles about this:
Once again we may be witnessing an utterly unacceptable situation where national security is being trumped by the profit motive with complicity of the federal government!
Here are a few things for you to consider-
On December 7, 1941 the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor.  Roughly 3,000 people, mostly members of the U.S. military were killed.  This is approximately the same number of casualties as were slaughtered on September 11, 2001, although the number of those who have since died as a result of their exposure to the toxins released when the World Trade Center disintegrated as raised the number of the casualties attributable to 9/11 considerably.  Back in 1941 the United States was a formidable country but not the “Super Power” we purportedly are today.  Yet in just 44 months, the United States working with its allies including some of questionable allegiance, especially the Soviet Union, managed to defeat the Axis Powers.  We built fleets of various ships, and aircraft.  We built radar installations and weapons systems that were brand new at the time.  Even unproven nuclear weapons were constructed and rushed into production.  In just 44 months freedom was saved from the existential threat posed by fascism and the Third Reich.
When President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to land men on the moon before January 1, 1970, our scientists and engineers demonstrated the American ingenuity and the “Can do” spirit and on July 20, 1989 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first of a series of U.S. astronauts to not only land on the moon and return safely to the Earth, but in later flights, some astronauts would actually drive a vehicle around on the moon to carry out increasingly sophisticated scientific investigations of Earth’s astronomical partner, the moon!  
It is remarkable that not a single H-1B visa was issued either to get the job done, either!
I also want you think about how easily Fed-Ex and other such shipping companies are easily able to move and track packages around the world on a real-time basis with exceptional accuracy.
Finally I want you to remember that the first terrorist attacks on U.S. soil attributable to radical Islam took place more than 20 years ago in 1993 at the CIA and at the first World Trade Center bombing.  Yet the ability to track the departure of nonimmigrant visitors is now supposedly too difficult for the United States?
I am convinced that this is not a matter of can’t, but won’t!
Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts nearly every challenge and threat confronting the United States today!  Simply stated, the immigration laws were enacted to save lives and protect the jobs of American workers.

Our armed forces are charged with securing America’s borders externally while the DHS is supposed to secure those same borders from within.  The failures of the DHS to live up to its half of the equation are undermining the efforts, valor and incredible sacrifices of Americas men and women who serve in our military!

If our government’s failures to protect American jobs by securing our nation’s borders and effectively enforcing our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!  

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

It is not “Anti-immigrant” to be Pro-American!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!

-michael cutler- 

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