How DHS will track down 757,000 aliens

The Homeland Security Department needs to track down more than 700,000 foreign visitors who have overstayed their visas, a DHS official testified.

Collaboration with the intelligence community and other agencies will be critical to identifying security threats among those foreign visitors, Rand Beers, undersecretary of DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate and coordinator for counterterrorism, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

According to Beers’ testimony, posted on DHS’ website, DHS is prioritizing its investigations of visitors who have overstayed their official welcome through the Advanced Targeting System, which the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency manages. Beers said the system reveals background information about the visitors, which DHS uses in conjunction with data from intelligence community resources to figure out which visitors the department needs to track down first.

Beers’ testimony follows up an April report by the Government Accountability Office that states that as many 1.6 million foreign visitors have overstayed their visa. Beers said DHS found 843,000 of those visitors and confirmed that they have left the United States or have received a change in their visa status.

Beers also testified that DHS is working to integrate tracking systems that help the department and intelligence community identify national security threats, which is one of the urgent needs that the terrorist attacks of 2001 exposed.

About the Author

Michael Protos is a web content editor with 1105 Government Information Group.

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