GAO Report Highlights Need for Robust Actions to Reform our Nation's Visa Process

Jul 31, 2013

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today made the following statement in response to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issuing its report examining U.S. Visas, “Overstay Enforcement: Additional Actions Needed to Assess DHS’s Data and Improve Planning for a Biometric Air Exit Program.”  Miller said:

“For years, I have advocated for a robust system which ensures that foreigners who enter this country on a visa actually leave our country.  This past May, my subcommittee held a hearing to examine the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) visa security system, our ability to prevent those who wish harm against our nation from getting a visa, and most importantly, what we are doing to track down overstays.  Visa security is more than an immigration issue; it is a national security issue.  At least four of the 9/11 hijackers, as well as numerous other terrorists, overstayed their visas.

“Today’s report released by the GAO shows that the Department cannot find more than 1 million potential overstays which should serve as a strong reminder that to completely secure the nation we need to look beyond the traditional borders.  As many as 40% of all illegal aliens who come into the country do not cross the border in Arizona or Texas, they come in through the front door and overstay their visa.  Solving the challenge of tracking down and removing those who overstay their visa is critical to our national security.”