The New York Times reports that the United States government currently has no idea how many foreign visitors have overstayed their visas — a long standing problem with America’s immigration system.
The issue was highlighted in December as members of Congress grilled a Department of Homeland Security official about the number of visa overstays — but she was unable to answer the question.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) pointed out that the last time Congress got accurate numbers on visa overstays was in 1994.
“If we’re looking at visa overstays, and sitting here debating a visa waiver program, and yet, the very instance of visa overstays and the potential terrorist threat that accompanies that, you’re tracking that, yet the last information Congress got was 1994,” he said during the hearing. “Do you not see a problem with that?”
The Times reports that Congress has repeatedly demanded a system to track visa overstays — especially after 9/11 since two of the attackers were in the country on expired visas. But those demands have not been met, highlighting a glaring hole in national security.
The issue has gained renewed attention after one of the terrorists in the San Bernandino attacks was in the United States under a K-1 fiance visa.