In the weeks ahead, the government will explain to Congress what its new program will do to track immigrants on visas whose visas have run out. The government says this is required to reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack.
Excuse me? This is 2012. This is over a decade after 9-11, when some of the alleged terrorists were here with expired visas.
Am I to believe that the #1 hole in the system that the 9-11 terrorists got into this nation to launch their attack has not been plugged? Yes, I am.
We have seen the rise of TSA. We have seen the Department of Homeland Security extend its operations into every nook and cranny of the United States. But a tactic as simple as getting a visa and entering the USA and then disappearing is still as effective as ever.
This is the inescapable implication of this report.
The Department of Homeland Security is finalizing its plan for a biometric data system to track when immigrants leave the United States and will present it to Congress within “weeks,” a top department official told a House Homeland Security subcommittee Tuesday.
An exit system to track who is leaving the country and when has been sought since before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. DHS officials, including Secretary Janet Napolitano, have agreed with the need for such a program but have previously said it would be too costly.
John Cohen, the department’s deputy counter terrorism coordinator, did not discuss the cost in his testimony about the problem of immigrants who overstay visas. He said the department’s report to Congress will explain how DHS plans to better determine who has overstayed their visa.
The criminal case against Amine El Khalifi, 29, of Alexandria, Va., accused in an alleged bomb plot against the U.S. Capitol, has renewed the debate about how the U.S. government — a decade after the terror attacks of 2001 — routinely fails to track millions of foreign visitors who remain in the country longer than they are allowed. El Khalifi was arrested in a parking lot, wearing what he thought was an explosive-laden suicide vest. He had been living illegally in the United States for 12 years.
Mr. Cohen said thst there have been improvements in how data are stored and tracked. Really? I mean, after 10 years, the public might imagine that this hole had been plugged by at least mid-2002. Not so.
Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., who led Tuesday’s hearing, said El Khalifi “follows a long line of terrorists, including several of the 9/11 hijackers, who overstayed their visa and went on to conduct terror attacks.” His tourist visa expired the same year he arrived from his native Morocco as a teenager in 1999.
So, as the screws have been tightened on Americans’ civil liberties, the Department of Homeland Security is still waiting to reveal its program for tracking illegal immigrants who have overstayed their legal welcome.
If you think this does not pass the smell test, I’m with you.