IG: More Than 900 Visa Overstay Leads Referred to ICE a Week in FY2011

By Melanie Arter | September 12, 2012 | 12:45 PM EDT

Non-resident visitors from an international flight fill out customs forms while waiting in line at immigration control at McCarran International Airport, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(CNSNews.com) - The Homeland Security’s immigration and border management system that oversees biographic and biometric data for foreign nationals entering the U.S. referred more than 900 visa overstay leads per week to ICE in fiscal year 2011, Homeland Security Department Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards said in his statement to Congress Tuesday.

United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Office (US-VISIT) “is designed to collect and analyze foreign nationals’ biographic and biometric data and provide timely accurate information to border enforcement officials to prevent entries of potentially fraudulent and dangerous individuals,” Edwards said in remarks prepared for the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security.

“In fiscal year 2011, US-VISIT referred more than 900 visa overstay leads per week to ICE. USVISIT also provides other Federal law enforcement and Intelligence Community with historical biographic and biometric information in the course of their investigations,” he said.

US-VISIT officials “have identified individuals who have overstayed visas by comparing visa information against entry and departure data, and established overstay lookouts so CBP officers and Department of State personnel can be warned of potential overstays seeking reentry to the United States,” Edwards said.

“Test data existed in the alien encounter information that USVISIT provided to us. In a number of instances, we reviewed records with the same fingerprint number but with fictitious names such as ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Jarvis Sample,’ he said.

In some instances, the same set of fingerprints was used to record the names of as many as seven different individuals, Edwards said. Nearly 400,000 records for women have different last names for the same first name, date of birth, and fingerprint. In those cases, women most likely changed their names after they got married, according to US-VISIT officials.