A bombshell new Department of Homeland Security report was released today that could further define the 2016 race around the issue of national sovereignty. The report documents refusal of approximately half a million foreign aliens to return to their home countries after being admitted to the United States on a temporary basis for work or tourist purposes.
The report’s release comes on the heels of Sarah Palin’s high-profile address endorsing Donald Trump, in which she lambasted the fecklessness and failure of the Republican establishment in protecting Americans from the violation of their national borders.
The “Entry/Exit Overstay Report,” prepared by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), documents that in 2015 alone, more than half a million people, who had entered the country on a B-1 or B-2 visa, had illegally overstayed their visas and are believed to be unlawfully residing within the United States. The B-1 and B-2 visas are for business workers and tourists, respectively. The report also includes those who entered on the “Visa Waiver Program,” which is another avenue for business workers and tourists to enter the United States on an allegedly temporary basis.
This report does not even begin to address the numerous other forms of visas used by foreign migrants to gain entry into the country– such as the H and L guest worker visas, the F student visa, and the J-1 foreign exchange visa. Similarly, it only accounts for migrants who entered by air and sea ports of entry. Because the report does not take into account migrants who entered through “land” ports, Latin Americans are likely under-represented.
The report states: “This report is limited to foreign nationals who entered the United States as nonimmigrant visitors for business (i.e., B-1 and WB visas) or pleasure (i.e., B-2 and WT visas) through an air or sea POE [Ports of Entry]. DHS has determined that there were a total of 44,928,381 nonimmigrant admissions to the United States for business or pleasure through air or sea POEs that were expected to depart in FY 2015, which represents the vast majority of annual nonimmigrant admissions. Of this number, DHS calculated a total overstay rate of 1.17 percent, or 527,127 individuals.”
Of those 527,127 individuals who illegally violated their visa expiration dates, 482,781 were classified by DHS as having still not left the country as of the end of last fiscal year.
Interestingly, the Suspected In-Country Overstay rates for many non-Western countries– some of which have sizable Muslim populations– were substantially higher than the overall Suspected In-Country Overstay rate (1.07 percent). For instance, Afghanistan’s suspected in-country overstay rate was 10.25 percent, Bhutan’s was 23.98 percent, Burkina Faso’s was 17.37 percent, Chad’s was 15.36 percent, and Djibouti’s was 26.80 percent.
According to the report, 1,435 migrants from Pakistan overstayed their visas and are believed to be in the country today, as well as 1,257 from Kuwait, 681 migrants from Iraq, 564 migrants from Iran, 219 migrants from Afghanistan, 447 from Kazakhstan, 440 migrants from Syria, 219 migrants from Yemen, and 56 migrants from Libya.
According to Pew, “Nearly all Muslims in Afghanistan (99%) and most in Iraq (91%) and Pakistan (84%) support sharia law as official law.”
In Trump’s immigration policy paper, the GOP frontrunner called for “enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa”– declaring that “Individuals who refuse to leave at the time their visa expires should be subject to criminal penalties; this will also help give local jurisdictions the power to hold visa overstays until federal authorities arrive.”
Trump also said that “Completion of a visa tracking system – required by law but blocked by lobbyists – will be necessary as well.”
Trump also pledged to “triple the number of ICE officers,” which he explained he would fund by “eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.”
By contrast to Trump’s plan on immigration, in 2013 donor-class favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against an amendment to his Obama-backed immigration bill offered by Sen. Vitter (R-LA), which would require the implementation of exit-entry tracking system in order to prevent foreign nationals from illegally overstaying their visas.
Rubio’s immigration plan would also have granted amnesty and provided a pathway to citizenship for millions illegal immigrants who overstayed visas.