Terrific: Feds Have No Clue If 9500 People With Revoked Visas and Links to Terrorism Are in U.S.

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Dec 18, 2015 9:25 AM
Terrific: Feds Have No Clue If 9500 People With Revoked Visas and Links to Terrorism Are in U.S.

In case you missed it yesterday, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing about the vetting process for refugees entering the United States from terrorism hot spots. 

During the hearing, officials from the State Department and Homeland Security were asked about the location of 9,500 individuals who have been stripped of their U.S. visas because of links to terrorism. They had no idea and could not say if these individuals were still in the U.S.

"The Department [State] has revoked approximately 122,000 visas for a variety of reasons including nearly 9500 with links to terrorism. Of the 122,000 revoked visas, how many of those people are still in the United States?" Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz asked Department of State Assistant Secretary Michele Bond. 

"I don't know," she responded.

"Homeland Security, how many revoked visas are still in the United States of America," Chaffetz asked DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin. 

"Mr. Chairman, I don't have that," he responded. 

According to a 2014 report from ABC News, the federal government has lost track of 6,000 foreign nationals who have overstayed their student visas. Keep in mind that this is the tactic the 9/11 hijackers used. 

The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished -- exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

"My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything," said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. "Some of them could be here to do us harm."

ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. -- now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.

In the meantime, the White House is moving forward with plans to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States within the next two years.