Exactly 0.5 percent of the 482,781 aliens who entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visitor visa in 2015—and who then never left—have actually been deported, official figures have shown.
These figures do not include Mexican nationals who use Border Crossing Cards, and the true number of overstayers is likely to be even higher.
The statistics, provided by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Senate Judiciary Committee, revealed that only 2,456 visa overstayers were deported from the United States in fiscal year 2015. The figures only apply to those who have entered the US on official visas or via the Visa Waiver Program.
Since 2009, ICE has managed to remove only 51,704 visa overstayers from the United States, according to a statement issued by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
The number of removals has decreased significantly each year, he continued, pointing out that ICE removed 12,538 in 2009; 11,259 in 2010; 10,426 in 2011; 6,856 in 2012; 4,240 in 2013; 3,564 in 2014; and only 2,456 in 2015.
“This number will likely decrease more in the future, as the Obama Administration’s removal policies exclude nearly all visa overstays from any enforcement activities,” Senator Sessions said.
“The decision by the Obama Administration not to enforce immigration law by allowing those who have overstayed their visas to remain in the country has not gone unnoticed by the American people,” he continued.
“A Rasmussen Reports poll released earlier this year indicates that approximately three quarters of Americans not only want the Obama Administration to find these aliens who overstay their visas, but also to deport them.
“The same poll indicates that 68 percent of Americans consider visa overstays a ‘serious national security risk,’ and 31 percent consider visa overstays a ‘very serious’ national security risk.”
Senator Sessions went on to say that “recognizing the fact that visa overstays undermine the integrity of our immigration system, and pose considerable national security risks, Congress has required the implementation of an entry-exit tracking system for nearly twenty years—and has mandated that the system be biometrically based since 2004.
“Indeed, the former Commissioners on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) highlighted the importance of the system in a report issued in 2014, stating that “[w]ithout exit-tracking, our government does not know when a foreign visitor admitted to the United States on a temporary basis has overstayed his or her admission.
“Had this system been in place before 9/11, we would have had a better chance of detecting the plotters before they struck.”
Senator Sessions, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, proposed an amendment that would have facilitated the implementation of this system, but a vote was blocked by a Democrat objection.