United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Foreign visitors who violate the terms of their visas by remaining in the United States indefinitely : hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, February 24, 1995 online

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in achieving bordftr security. It knows that it must keep a corps of well-trained offi-
cers, well-attuned to local conditions, to abjudicate these visa applications. It is im-
portant that we give them the training and equipment and deploy them efficiently
so that their decisions will continue to help safeguard the interests of this country.
Thank you. I would be happy to address any questions you might have.

Mr. Smith. Mr. Puleo, we will go to you.



21

STATEMENT OF JAMES A. PULEO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE
COMMISSIONER FOR PROGRAMS, IMMIGRATION, AND NATU-
RALIZATION SERVICE, ACCOMPANIED BY ROBERT WARREN,
STATISTICS BRANCH

Mr. PULEO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me here
today to discuss issues concerning the identification and removal of
nonimmigrant ahens who enter legally but subsequently fail to de-
part when their authorized stay in this country expires.

In fiscal year 1994, the Immigration £md Naturalization Service
inspected and admitted over 510 million persons at 200 air, land
and sea ports of entry, while identifying 661,791 inadmissible
aliens. Of those admitted, 333 million, or almost two-thirds, were
noncitizens. I would like to begin my describing briefly the screen-
ing procedures that precede the admission of nonimmigrants.

When a nonimmigrant visitor arrives at a U.S. air, land, or sea
port of entry, an immigration inspector conducts an inspection to
determine identity, nationality and admissibility. INS also queries
a lookout data base to assist in determining their admissibility.
Nonimmigrants must provide valid passports or visas, unless ex-
empt; not be excludable from the United States; and agree to be
abide by the terms and conditions of admission, including to depart
when required.

Visitors from 22 countries coming to the United States for busi-
ness or pleasure for up to 90 days may be admitted without visas
under the visa waiver pilot program. To expedite our high volume
of persons entering regularly over the Mexican land border, the
border crossing cards are issued to Mexican nationals. This card
admits holders for travel within 5 miles of the border for up to 72
hours. Certain Canadian nonimmigrants visitors, primarily visitors
for pleasure or business entering for periods of less than 6 months,
are exempt from visa requirements. These visitors are still in-
spected.

Most malafide applicants for admission are detected during the
inspection process because they lack documents or because they
present fraudulent documents. However, a significant number of
properly documented nonimmigrants are refused admission based
upon their response to questions asked during the inspection.

Let me give you an example of an intercept of an unqualified
nonimmigrant that immigration inspectors at J.F.K International
Airport made recently. A 25-year-old Polish woman, who resided in
the United States for most of the previous year, asked for admis-
sion as a visitor indicating a wealthy suburban area as her destina-
tion. At secondary inspection, she admitted that she had been
working illegally as a babysitter for $6 an hour during her last
nonimmigrant visit.

Despite efforts to screen nonimmigrants both abroad and at ports
of entry, some remain illegally after their authorization period for
admission. Last April, INS estimated that the resident unauthor-
ized immigrant population in October 1994 was 3.4 million and
growing at a rate of 300,000 persons annually. Nonimmigrant
overstays comprise approximately half of our resident illegal popu-
lation.

On an annual basis, a very small percentage of nonimmigrants
overstay, about 1.5 to 2 percent of the persons entering and filing



22

arrival/departure documents. Recognizing the magnitude the non-
immigrant overstay component, the President's budget request for
fiscal year 1995 and 1996 has sought additional resources for inte-
rior enforcement to limit alien access to U.S. jobs, to curb applica-
tions for asylum from persons who really seek employment author-
ization, to identify and remove criminal aliens, and to remove other
aliens who have absconded after being ordered deported.

This year we are implementing an enhanced interior enforcement
pilot in the Los Angeles and New York districts. We have requested
resources for fiscal year 1996 to expand the demonstration program
into the seven States that are most heavily impacted by illegal im-
migration: California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, New York,
Florida, and Illinois.

We will continue comprehensive coordinated interagency efforts
with the INS and the Department of Labor for employer sanctions
and labor standards enforcement in selected areas of high illegal
immigration and industries that have historically been dependent
on the illegal work force.

We plan to invest fiscal year 1996 resources in substantial im-

Erovements in the quality of information contained in the INS data
ase in adapting Social Security Administration data bases for pi-
lots to test various methods of verifying employment eligibility. We
will also expand the telephone verification system pilot program fo-
cusing on employers and industries that tj^icalfy attract illegal
workers.

INS and the Social Security Administration will initiate addi-
tional pilots to test a variety of verification approaches as rec-
ommended by the Commission on Immigration Reform.

We are developing and will implement a tamper-proof version of
our current employment authorization document to deter fraud and
allow easier detection of fraudulent documents. We also will pro-
pose legislation to reduce the number of acceptable work authoriza-
tion documents for noncitizens and citizens.

Lawfully admitted nonimmigrants comprise 33 percent of aliens
filing asylum applications with INS. Many of these are sincere and
meritorious applicants. However, some nonimmigrants use asylum
as a mechanism to remain in the United States with employment
authorization while they wait for a decision on their asylum re-
quests.

The asylum reforms which we have begun to implement vrill re-
duce the attractiveness of the asylum process as a mechanism to
secure employment authorization and delay departures. The new
regulations specify that no asylum applicant mav request employ-
ment prior to 150 days after filing their asylum claim. By removing
immediate access to employment authorization, we expect fewer
aliens, including nonimmigrants, to file for asylum.

Mr. Smith. Mr. Puleo, if I may interrupt you for a second, before
we get to our questions, would you continue as a part of your testi-
mony and briefly explain to us now you get to the figure or the esti-
mate that half of the illegal aliens in the United States are visa
overstayers, and also how many thousands each year fit into that
category and just explain how you arrive at the number?

Mr. Puleo. Do you want me to continue?

Mr. Smith. I would prefer if you would explain that.



23

Mr. PULEO. I will defer that to Mr. Warren.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Puleo follows:]

Prepared Statement of James A. Puleo, Executive Associate Commissioner
FOR Programs, Immigration and Naturalization Service

Thank you for inviting me here today to discuss issues concerning the identifica-
tion and removal of nommmigrant aliens who enter legally but subsequently fail to
depart when their authorized stay in this country expires.

La fiscal year 1994, the Immigration and Naturalization Service inspected and ad-
mitted over 510 million persons at over 200 air, land, and sea ports of entry, while
identifying 661,791 inadmissible aliens. Of those admitted, 333 million, or almost
two thirds, were noncitizens. Well over 90 percent of these visitors entered over our
land borders, reflecting the close social and economic ties we share with Canada and
Mexico, and the relative ease of international business and pleasure travel to the
United States.

The Admissions Process

I would like to begin hy describing briefly the screening procedures that precede
the admission of nonimnugrants to the United States with or without visas. A vari-
ety of processes are used to screen and admit temporary alien visitors to the United
States depending largely on the nonimmigrant category and the country of origin.
AU inspections, however, are based on guidelines set by the grounds for exclusion
in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Generally, a prospective nonimmigrant applies to a consular office overseas for a
nonimmigrant visa m the category appropriate to the intended purpose of the visit.
Most — 93 percent of all nonimmigrants — enter with visitor visas for pleasure or
business. All of these persons are screened through the Department of State lookout
data base. The process for issuing the visa varies from post to post depending upon
the prevalence of fraud in that location. At some posts, nonimtmigrant visas are is-
sued based on mail-in applications. In high-fraud posts, face-to-face interviews may
be required for some or all applicants. When an application is approved, a non-
immigrant visa is placed in the applicants passport. Nonimmigrant visas may be
valid for a single or limited number of entries, or for an extended period of time
and unlimited number of uses.

When a no nimmi grant visitor with a visa arrives at a U.S. air, land, or sea port
of entry, an Immigration Inspector conducts an inspection to determine identity, na-
tionality, and admissibility. INS also queries a look-out data base to assist in deter-
mining their admissibility. Nonimmigrants must present valid passports and visas,
unless exempt; not be excludable from the United States; and agree to abide by the
terms and conditions of admission, including to depart when required. K there are
significant questions about a nonimmigrant's intent or ability to support himself or
herself while here, he or she may be recjuired to post a bond as a condition of entiy.

Visitors from 22 countries coming to the United States for business or pleasure
for up to 90 days may be admitted without visas under the Visa Waiver PUot Pro-
gram. Since 1988, over 50 million visitors have entered the United States under this
Erogram which the travel and tourism industry credits for increasing tourism to the
fnited States. The countries in the program were designated because of their low
visa refusal and violation rates.

The admissions process is somewhat different for the majority of visitors entering
over our land borders. To expedite the very high volume of persons entering regu-
larly over the Mexican land border, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and
to a lesser extent, consular posts in Mexico, issue Border Crossing Cards to Mexican
nationals. This document replaces consular-issued nonimmigrant visitor visas for
Mexican citizens. This card admits the holder for travel withm 25 miles of the bor-
der for up to 72 hours. A Border Crossing Card holder can apply for a permit allow-
ing travel anywhere within the five-state area of California, Arizona, Nevada, New
Mexico, or Texas, for up to 30 days. Certain Canadian nonimmigrants, primarily
visitors for business or pleasure entering for periods of less than 6 months, are ex-
empt from visa requirements. These visitors are still inspected and must meet all
the other requirements for admission.

Detection of Inadmissible Auens at Entry

Most malafide applicants for admission are detected during the inspections proc-
ess because they lack documents or because they present fraudulent documents.
However, a significant number of properly documented nonimmigrants are refused



24

admission based upon their responses to questions asked during inspection. These
questions are aimed at determining whether an applicant for admission is coming
for a purpose consistent with the type of visa issued and whether there would be
a threat to the safety, welfare, health, or security of the United States if the person
were admitted.

Let me give you examples of intercepts of unqualified nonimmigrants that Immi-
gration Inspectors at JFK International Airport have made recently. An Ugandan
national applying for admission as a nonimmigrant visitor requested a one-month
stay in the United States before proceeding to a table-tennis championship in Mex-
ico City. An in-depth secondary inspection, which included a search of his baggage,
revealed that he had been wonting in the United States iUegadly with a counter^it
alien registration card and a valid Social Security card. Another case involved a 25-
year-old Polish woman who had resided in the U.S. for most of the previous year
and now was asking for admission as a visitor indicating a wealthy suburban area
as her destination. At secondary inspection, she admitted that she had been working
illegally as a babysitter for $6 an hour during her last nonimmigrant visit.

(Jur immigration inspectors are challengeadailv with the responsibility of inspect-
ing thousands of applicants for admission and detecting malande applicants while
admitting the majority of arrivals expeditiously. To help our inspectors meet that
challenge, we are testing and using many new forms of technology. We are testing
the use of biometrics, such as hana geometry or fingerprints, to identify and inspect
low-risk, frequent business travelers through the INS Passenger Accelerated Service
System (INSPASS). This test at Newark, JFK, and Toronto Preclearance has over
40,000 enrollees who are issued machine-readable cards which include an encoding
of their hand geometry. Once enrolled, the INSPASS card-holder can proceed di-
rectly to an automated kiosk to go through the automated inspection process. If
there is not a match between the traveler and the card, the traveler is required to
follow regular inspection procedures.

Under the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) advance information on

Bassengers is transmitted to us electronically by air carriers prior to aircraft arrival,
fpon arrival, the passengers on an APIS flight can proceed to a special "Blue Lane"
for an expedited inspection process. Advance information has enabled us to intercept
inadmissible aliens immediately upon their arrival. Every action that we take to re-
duce the amount of time spent on bonafide travelers allows us to spend more time
in the detection and inspection of inadmissible aliens.

Unfortunately, some malafide nonimmigrants manage to pass through the inspec-
tions process without being identified. For some other nonimmigrants who entered
legally and perhaps intended to depart as required, circumstances change and they
stay after their period of authorized entry has expired, oft^n to take jobs. These
aliens become part of the undocumented alien population.

EsrriMATES of Nonimmiqrant Overstays

The size of the undocumented alien population, including the number of non-
immigrant overstays, has been a matter of considerable speculation for the past two
decaoes. However, over the past several years, concerted joint efforts by the govern-
ment and private sector have provided increasingly accurate information about the
likely dimensions of the Ulegai alien population.

Last April, INS estimated that the resident unauthorized imaiigrant popujation
in October 1992 was 3.4 million and growing at a rate of about 300,000 persons an-
nually. This means that the current resident unauthorized population in the United
States is about 4 miUion.

The estimation procedures used in developing these estimates accounted sepa-
rately for undocumented residents who entered by illegally crossing the land bor-
ders, and those who entered legally through ports of entry but did not depart when
their authorized stays expired. These estimates show that about half of the resident
illegal alien population entered by crossing our land borders surreptitiously. The re-
maining half of the resident undocumented population were nonimmigrant
overstays.

Nonimmigrant overstays are a more diffuse population in every sense of the word,
and a population which nas been more difficult for INS to apprehend and remove.
However, for persons from most countries of the world, overstaying lawful non-
immigrant admissions is the typical means for becoming part of the undocumented
alien population. Attached is a chart of the ten top nationalities among the non-
immigrant overstays.

While it appears likely that nonimmigrant overstays comprise a significant por-
tion — approximately half — of our resident illegal alien population, let me put this
into perspective. Last fiscal year the United States admitted over 333 nullion aliens.



25

Along with these legal admissions come a far smaller number of persons seeking
entry without proper documentation, or entering lawfully and violating the terms
of their admission by not leaving on time or taking unauthorized employment. On
an annual basis, a very small percentage of nonimmigrants overstay — about 1.5 to
2 percent of the persons entering and filing arrival/departure documents. But this
number poses a significant challenge for our enforcement programs because, as I
mentioned earlier, nonimmigrant overstays represent every nationality, are in every
state, and are working in jobs in every employment sector ranging from the lowest
to the highest paying.

Interior Enforcement Strategies

The most effective way to deter illegal immigration is through a combination of
strengthened border control and interior enforcement. The Administration's plan for
investing $93 million in fiscal year "'996 in intensified interior enforcement efforts
both complements and supplements the multi-year border control strategy that has
been successfully underway for the past 2 years.

Recognizing the magnitude of the nonimmigrant overstay component of the un-
documented alien population, the Presidential budget requests for fiscal years 1995
and 1996 have sought additional resources for interior enforcement — to limit alien
access to U.S. jobs, to curb applications for asylum from persons who are really
seeking employment authorization, to identify and remove criminal aliens, and to
remove other aliens who have absconded after being ordered deported.

Reducing the Magnet of U.S. Jobs

Recognizing that employment is the primary incentive for illegal immigration, our
interior enforcement strategy is targeted at reducing the magnet of job opportunities
for iHegai migrants regardless of their method of arrival. This will be accomplished
in the following ways:

Worksite Enforcement

This year we are implementing an enhanced interior enforcement pilot in the Los
Angeles and New York districts to develop greater knowledge of interior deterrence.
A fiscal year 1995 Appropriations increase of $6.3 million will add new personnel
at each location. We have requested resources for fiscal year 1996 to expand the
demonstration program into the seven states that are most heavih' impacted by iUe-
sai immigration: California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, New York, Florida, and
Illinois. High priority for compliance examination will be given to industries that
have historically depended on an illegal workforce. A significant increase in the in-
vestigation and prosecution of fraud document vendors and facilitators is expected.
The higher level of worksite visits will result in some increase in the apprehension
of aliens. These apprehensions will be a mixture of persons who entered without in-
spection and nonimmigrant overstays.

Building on fiscal year 1995 employer sanctions efforts, we wUl continue com-
prehensive and coordinated interagency efforts. The INS and Department of Labor
(DOL) wiU coordinate their employer sanctions and labor standards enforcement in
selected areas of high illegal immigration. The Administration's fiscal year 1996
budget request will provide 340 new INS Investigations personnel to enhance work
site enforcement and 202 new DOL personnel to enhance labor standards enforce-
ment.

immigration status verification

We plan to invest fiscal year 1996 resources in substantial improvements in the
quality of information contained in INS data bases and in adapting Social Security
Administration databases for pilots to test various methods of verifying employment
eligibility. Improving INS data accuracy and the timeliness of status information
will make it easier for employers to ensure they are maintaining a legal workforce,
for agencies to verify eligibility for benefit programs, and will help reduce discrimi-
nation.

We will also expand our Telephone Verification System pilot program focusing on
employers in industries ♦hat typically attract illegal workers. This system wiU pro-
vide employers with a simple, automated means of verifying the work eligibility of
noncitizens.

INS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will also initiate several addi-
tional pilots to test a variety of verification approaches, as recommended by the
Commission on Immigration Reform. These pilots will include expanding Social Se-



26

curity Number validation for employers, testing a two-step process to cross check
INS and SSA Files, and simulating methods for combining INS and SSA data.

FRAUD-RESISTANT INS DOCUMENTS AND DOCUMENT REDUCTION

Building on current initiatives to make immigration documents more counterfeit-
resistant, we are developing and will implement a new, tamper-proof version of the
current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to deter fraud and allow easier
detection of fraudulent documents. A centralized process for issuing EADs and Alien
Registration Cards ("green cards") will lower production costs, speed service to the
public, and improve employers' ability to authenticate legitimate documents.

We also will propose legislation to reduce the number of acceptable work author-
ization documents for noncitizens and citizens. As an initial step, INS will soon pro-
pose a regulation reducing the number of such documents from 29 to 16.

Asylum Reform

Lawfully admitted nonimmigrants comprise approximately 33 percent of aliens fil-
ing asylum applications with INS. Many of these nonimmigrants are sincere and
meritorious applicants who cannot return to their home countries because of a well-
founded fear oi persecution. However, some nonimmigrants use asylum as a mecha-
nism to remain in the United States with employment authorization while they wait
for a decision on their asylum recmests.

Our recently implemented asylum reforms will reduce the attractiveness of the
asylum process as a mechanism to secure employment authorization and delay de-
partures. As you know, this year we are hiring and training 184 additional asylum
officers and 73 immigration judges. INS is now scheduling most new asylum appli-
cants for an interview within 30 days of filing. The new regulations specify that no
asylum applicant may request employment prior to 150 days after filmg their asy-
lum claim. In the case of new filings, we are interviewing and referring the asylum
claim to an immigration judge within 60 days.

The additional immigration judges should allow these referred cases to be sched-
uled with a final decision on their asylum claim and a final order of deportation,
if denied, prior to the end of the 180-day period by when such asylum seekers would
be eligible for employment authorization. By removing immediate access to employ-
ment authorization, we expect fewer aliens, including nonimmigrants, to file for asy-
lum as a means to remain in the United States. For those asylum applicants who
continue their claims before immigration judges in deportation proceedings and who
are denied, there will be greater likelihood ofremoval.

Removing Deportable Aliens

While criminal aliens are normally detained during their deportation proceedings,
other aliens, including nonimmigrant overstays, placed in proceedings on other de-
portation grounds are generally not detained while the Executive Office for Immi-
gration Review schedules and completes deportation hearings. When final deporta-
tion orders are issued on such nondetained aliens, limited INS resources have re-
stricted our ability to effect their removal.

The Adirdnistration is proposing to focus additional resources on detaining more
of these noncriminal aliens within the President's fiscal year 1996 budget request.
We will not only increase INS and non-LNS detention space, but are designing a
comprehensive transportation network to ensure that we can move detained aliens
to locations where detention space is available. We believe that with these new ef-
forts that noncriminal alien removals will more than double from 25,600 in fiscal-
year 1995 to 53,080 in fiscal year 1996.


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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JForeign visitors who violate the terms of their visas by remaining in the United States indefinitely : hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, February 24, 1995 → online text (page 4 of 7)