ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona congresswoman implies visa overstays are national security problem

May 24, 2017, 5:08 AM
(AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)...
(AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)
(AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) pointed to visa overstays as a national security problem during a homeland security hearing on Tuesday.

McSally, who is the chair of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee, made the comment during her opening statement at a hearing to evaluate visa overstays and the impact on national security.

“With this year’s number of border apprehensions at record lows, visa overstays are a much, much bigger problem than it has been historically,” McSally said. “We have to keep the DHS focused on both problem sets – illicit traffic that crosses the land border and the growing problem of visa overstays.”

A report published Monday from the Department of Homeland Security found that nearly 740,000 foreigners overstayed their visas at some point in 2016, with 544,000 overstays remaining by January.

There were 739,478 overstays from October 2015 through September 2016 among visitors who arrive by plane or ship — more than the population of Alaska.

“To put that number into context, we only apprehended 310,000 unique individuals crossing the land border illegally last year, meaning we had almost twice as many overstays as people apprehended at the land border,” McSally said Tuesday.

Overstays accounted for 1.5 percent of the 50.4 million visitors who arrived by plane or ship in the latest period, Homeland Security said.

Canada occupied the top slot for overstays among business travelers and tourists, followed by Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. Germany, Colombia, China, India and Italy rounded out the top 10.

The overstay rate was much higher among students and foreign exchange visitors, with 79,818 of 1.5 million, or 5.5 percent, staying after their visas expired. China had the largest number of student overstays, followed by Saudi Arabia, South Korea, India and Brazil.

During her opening statement, McSally also claimed that visa overstays have “historically been the primary means for terrorist entry into the United States,” and argued for a “greater emphasis on the visa process as a counterterrorism tool.”

McSally proposed that “adding a reliable exit system” will allow national security officials to “focus their efforts on preventing terrorist attacks and [spend] time tracking down people who are still in the country.”

Her comments come one day after 22-year-old Salman Abedi, a suicide bomber with possible ties to the Islamic State, is suspected to have killed at least 23 people and injured 59 more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Abedi is a Libyan who was born and raised in the United Kingdom.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Chandler Police Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Chandler police ask for community help identifying public indecency, stalking suspect

Chandler police is asking for community assistance in identifying a suspect of public sexual indecency and felony stalking, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Arizona woman accused of fatally shooting husband, young son

A northern Arizona woman is facing federal charges in the shooting deaths of her husband and young son last week, according to authorities.
1 day ago
Mark Brnovich, a Republican, smiles as he talks with people on the floor of the Arizona House of Re...
Associated Press

Arizona announces $85M settlement with Google over user data

Arizona AG Mark Brnovich said his office reached an $85 million settlement with Google to resolve a lawsuit that accused the tech company of “surreptitiously” obtaining user data to sell advertisements.
1 day ago
(Arizona Humane Society Photo)...
Alex Weiner

139 rabbits rescued in Glendale, in need of foster homes

The Arizona Humane Society is in need of foster homes for 139 rescued rabbits that were hoarded in Glendale.
1 day ago
Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images, File)...
Associated Press

Jan. 6 committee attorney says Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward pleaded Fifth

Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a House Jan. 6 committee deposition, according to an attorney for the panel.
1 day ago
Canyon State Academy (Google Street View)...
KTAR.com

1 dead, 2 hospitalized after possible drug overdose at Queen Creek school

One student died and two others were hospitalized after a possible drug overdose Monday night at a residential school for at-risk boys in Queen Creek, authorities said.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Arizona congresswoman implies visa overstays are national security problem