More than a half-million temporary visa holders — including thousands from the Middle East — illegally overstayed their visas last year, with nearly 500,000 of them still believed to be in the United States at the end of the year, a Department of Homeland Security report said Tuesday.
These numbers — 527,127 and 482,781, respectively — reflect illegals who have worker visas and those for tourism purposes, according to the report. These are known as B-1 and WB visas for workers and B-2 and WT visas for tourists.
The numbers, however, exclude the numbers of illegals who have overstayed their visas through other programs operated by DHS.
In total, more than 44.9 million illegals were admitted to the United States through various visa programs, according to the report.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions charged Tuesday that these figures resulted from the Obama administration’s refusal to exempt illegals who have overstayed their visas from enforcement by DHS.
The visa entries are required to tracked by the agency’s Biometric Exit Tracking System, which Sessions said has not be implemented in more than a decade.
“Congress first required an entry-exit tracking system nearly twenty years ago, and for well over a decade that system has been required to be biometrically-based,” Sessions said. “Yet, the required system has still not been constructed.”
Sessions, chairman of the Senate Immigration and the National Interest Subcommittee, will question DHS officials on the issue at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
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