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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1-94 back on. With more resources, maybe we could produce such
a printout.

We do — one of the things we try to do is spot checking by phone
to see if people have come back from their visits, but we don't have
a lot of resources to do that. But we do not have a list of people
who are presumed to have overstayed. That would have to come
from INS.

Mr. Gallegly. Thank you. It seems like we have a lot of work
to do.

Mr. Smith. We are going to have more questions on this.

Ms. Dillard, before we get to the gentleman from North Carolina,
why don't you have a higher refusal rate from countries that con-
sistently and persistently seem to abuse our immigration laws?

As Mr, Bryant pointed out, you have countries that have been
doing that for years. Why don't we just have a tougher screening
process? Seems to me that might answer some of the questions.
Which has nothing to do with personnel or training or anything
else. It has to do with being tougher. Why don't we do that to the
countries who continue to abuse the system?

Ms. DiLLARD. Well, when you consider the number of legitimate
travelers that there are bound to be in a country, 60 percent re-
fusal rate is pretty high. I think if we are

Mr. Smith. It is clearly, on the face of it, not high enough if those
countries' citizens consistently have a high percentage of individ-
uals who overstay their visas.

Ms. DiLLARD. It is a problem. It is also a problem that we must
judge the person's intent at the time of application. Again, I think
many of the people who overstay do not intend to overstay when
they come.

Mr. Smith. Well, we all know they have excuses, still, you can't
deny the figures.

We will come back to that in a minute.

The gentleman from North Carolina is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. Heineman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am a little concerned about that high level of refusal rates. And
the fact we just in the Crime Subcommittee and on the floor of
Congress we passed an immigrant — a more expeditious process for


exporting immigrants for committing felonies. And one of those, I
believe, is dea.ing with documents and on visas — not only visas but
identification and whatnot.

Has there been any effort to investigate or to attempt to inves-
tigate why we don't get — why we get as many immigrants that do
not show up when they should show up to go back to their home
country? In other words, is there some underground that is work-
ing or is there any thought to some type of an underground work-
ing in those particular nationalities that is finding homes and proc-
esses for these people to blend into this country without being

Ms. DiLlvUtD. You mean nonimmigrants who overstay their
visas? There could very well be. We do have a very active program
overseas. Our role is overseas.

But for trends — for example, these groups of Chinese coming in
from various places, little groups in various countries around the
world. We try to track those, for example. We are sure if they get
in, they are taken in and, as you say, hidden away and helped to
fade into the background.

We do try to track those fraudulent trends all around the world
and work with INS. We work with INS on training foreign officials,
on fraud trends, on fraudulent documents, with airline officials to
help them help us spot the fraud that leads to this kind of thing.

Mr. HKI^fEMAN. Is that an active process?

Ms. DiLiAUi). Yes, it is.

Mr. Heineman. I know in the past there has been some effort to
deal with Chinese and some parts of Europe that have had a proc-
ess, a black market here, where they would take in immigrants
and — through fraudulent documentation and employment.

Ms. DiLiARD. Yes, that is a problem that we attempt to address.
Both of our agencies work together on this sort of issue.

Mr. Heineman. Well, I am glad to hear that. It appears to me
that when you have one or two aberrations when you are studying
figures and you are studying selected populations that stand out,
and that would almost indicate to me that there is a process for
finding homes for those people. When I say homes, I mean false
documents and jobs and whatnot.

Ms. DiLlARD. We are also continuing to work on ensuring that
we can keep ahead of the counterfeiters on our documents. That is
one of our big aims, and that is one of the reasons that we sought
the machine-readable visa fee so we would have the funds to do

And INS and State have a joint working group which is going to
help us, we believe, in tracking down fraudulent applicants. We are
trying to establish an automated data transfer of information from
our posts overseas to the port of inspection. We are going to have
a trial later this year, and that will give the INS inspector the en-
tire data presented by the applicant at the visa interview. We are
starting out with immigrants because that is an easier group to
begin with, but we would move to nonimmigrants as we perfect the

Mr. Heineman. As far as reaching out and touching those people
that we have given temporary stays to, those people that are here


on visas, how long would it take us to change the color of a card
that they would have?

Mr. PuLEO, Color of the document? We are in the process of
doing it now. Hopefully, the new document should be issued this'

Mr. Heineman. And how long would it take to reach out and/or
to nullify the current document and put in place what you are just
talking about?

Mr. PuLEO. Well, most employment authorization documents are
issued for 6 months to a year, so it would take no longer than a
year for the entire current issued documents to expire, and we
would get into the new secure document which, as you can see, has
a magnetic stripe to query our data base.

Mr. Smith. I want to go back quickly before going back to Mr.

Just looking at some countries — ^here we have a situation with
the Bahamas, a relatively small country, of 13,000 visa overstayers
in 1992 alone. And another country — and this is the country that
has the worst record as far as the trend goes — Mexico, our neighbor
to the south, these are the figures of thousands of people who are
nonimmigrants overstayers over the last several years in 1985
working up to 1995: 25,000, 33,000 41,000, 56,000, 63,000, 60,000,
60,000. You have gone from 25,000 to 60,000 visa overstayers from
Mexico in 7 years. What is the excuse for that?

Ms. DiLLAiU). Well, as you will probably note — or let me tell you
about the volume and the work force that we have there. Well, it
is different per post. Take Mexico City, last year we issued 248,000
visas, and we denied 75,000.

Mr. Smith. I understand that, and I appreciate that.

Ms. DiLLAitD. I want to describe the office to you

Mr. Smith. How do you explain the continued increase every sin-
gle year virtually over the last 7 years to the point now where it
is almost a 250-percent increase in the last 7 years as far as the
number of visa overstayers?

Ms. DiLlJVRD. We are going to have to refuse more visas, and it
means that we are going to have to have more people.

Mr. Smith. It is always a question of more people and not a
question of asking more questions or screening better or asking for
more documents?

Ms. DiLiARi). To screen better we are going to have to have more
resources. On the Bahamians, they don t get visas. Most of them
come in without visas.

Mr. Smith. When you talk about — so you are saying that this
problem is one of personnel or staff, not anything in the methodol-
Ms. DlLlAUl). We don't have enough people to screen more thor-
oughly than we do now.

Mr. Smith. How much have you asked for in your budget as far
as an increase in personnel in tnose particular offices?

Ms. DiLl^Rl). Well, as the Bureau, we have sought increases over
the years, but at this time, our — the Departments budget request
is less.

Mr. Smith. Have you requested sufficient resources to solve the
problem or not?


Ms. DiLLARD. We cannot do that under our budget process. We
are instructed to downsize right now. We don't really have any con-
trol over that. We have made

Mr. Smith. I am talking about what — have you requested what
you think you need? Have you not asked for what you thought you

Ms. DiLLARD. Within the Department, yes we have tried to find
ways to make it work without increases. That is one of the reasons
we asked for 245(c) because we could free up resources to put on
NIVs and on fraud, and that is what we are working on. We are
going to be able to transfer some of the savings that we will make
under 245(c) to these posts that need more resources.

Mr. Smith. With regard to Mexico, have the number of individ-
uals seeking nonimmigrant visas — have they increased 250 percent
over the years?

Ms. DiLLARD. Yes, they have. The number has increased.

Mr. Smith. The number of applicants has increased that much?

Ms. DiLl>ARD. Yes.

Mr. Smith. That may be true. I happen to think that you all
could be doing a lot better job of screening out people, particularly
from those countries that you know ahead of time already are
abusing their privileges.

Thank you.

Mr. Puleo, let me go back to your figure, which I am really inter-
ested in. I want to go back to the million and a half figure, the dif-
ference between the gross number of individuals who come in and
the number of 1-94 forms ultimately collected after a year's time
and grace period.

You have a million and a half people. First of all, does that in-
clude all the visa overstayers of any kind?

Mr. PuLEO. Yes.

Mr. Smith. Does it include students?

Mr. Puleo. Students are not included in that.

Mr. Smith. Why doesn't it include students? And how many stu-
dents are there?

Mr. Warren. The reason the students are not included is that
we do the estimates about a year after people should have left. Stu-
dents are admitted for a longer period of time, and in our meth-
odology we just haven't been able to include students in that cat-
egory. I think we get about 350,000 students coming in per year.

Mr. Smith. And so you don't allow for not one of those 350,000
overstaying their visa in the IV2 million figure?

Mr. Warren. Students are not included in these estimates.

Mr. Smith. Does that seem like common sense to you? If there
is a group that is young, footloose and fancy free, it might be stu-
dents; and if they are here for a longer period of time, they might
establish ties. Why is it that you don t allow for any estimate what-
soever of the 350,000 students overstaying their visas?

Mr, Warren. We would certainly include them if we were able
to with the methodology that we have. It is a limitation of the

Mr. Smith. Seems like any methodology would be better than
saying that not one of the 350,000 would overstay. You are estimat-


ing a lot of other things. Why can't you estimate it with the stu-

Mr. Warren. No, we haven't developed that procedure.

Mr. Smith. Do you consider that to be a glaring omission or does
it make your figures inaccurate as a result?

Mr. Warren. If you were to assume that even a rate similar to
the estimates that we do develop, 2- or 3-percent overstay, that
would be a few thousands per year. In terms of an estimated over-
all undocumented population of 2 million, that would be a very
small portion.

Mr. Smith. My time is up. I am going to come back in a minute.

The gentleman from Texas.

Mr. Bryant of Texas. Once again, I want to say we are talking
about 1.5 percent error here, and that is a good job, and I think
you ought to be commended for working hard for this. Don't inter-
pret our desire for perfection for lack of appreciation for what has
been done.

I am curious about the figures that I have before me with regard
to Mexico indicating that the number of overstays from Mexico
really dwarfs everybody else. Even though the percentages are
low — 5 percent and 4 percent in 1992 — ^the total is 60,000. That is
huge. And I also notice that the number — while the percentage has
been roughly the same, the number has increased from 25,000 in
1985 to 60,000 in 1992. Why is that happening?

Mr. PuLEO. I think Bob can probably answer it more than I, but
if you look at the overall percentage, it stayed the same through
all those years. I think you have to look at the gross number of ad-
missions at the same time you are looking at the gross number of
overstays, so that the number goes from 25,000 to 60,000. I think
you will notice that the percentage of the total admissions for those
years remains constant.

Mr. Bryant of Texas. I acknowledge that. Let's say 1992 you had
60,000. That looks like a 4-percent— 60,000 represents a 4-percent
overstay. If it was 5 percent, then you would have had 1,200,000
people; is that right? And 60,000 didn't leave again.

Mr. Warren. I am sorry, what was the number?

Mr. Bryant of Texas. If 60,000 is 5 percent, then 100 percent is
1,200,000; right?

Mr. Warren. I am sorry. I am not very good with numbers.

Mr. Bryant of Texas. Well, anyway, I agree that the percentage
has been constant, but that is a huge number. I am not sure how
to frame a question about that, but that is a significant percentage
of the whole public problem. If the whole problem is 300,000, that
is 20 percent of it right there.

Mr. Warren. That is true. Mexico is the largest country of esti-
mated overstays. That include people who come across by land and

Mr. Bryant of Texas. Are those bad interviews done in the city
where they ask for the visa or what?

Ms. DiLLARD. Yes, the bad interview happens at the consulate,
if it is a bad interview. They probably have 2 minutes max to inter-
view people in Mexico in a not very congenial setting, as you have
seen. We don't deliberately issue bad cases.


Mr. BRYAl>rr of Texas. I know you don't. Nobody thinks that. You
all you have done a good job. But maybe we could get you some
tools to do a better job.

Sixty thousand coming from one country, even though the per-
centage is about like other places, it is still a whole lot of people.
And it looks like we could figure out some way to further reduce
that. That is every year.

Ms. DiLLARD. I do think the only way to do that is to cut out the
lure of economic opportunity. You know, we can talk about
overstays and we can count the overstays better and we can bring
it down to 1 percent or whatever, but as long as the jobs are there,
we are going to have a problem.

Mr. Bryant of Texas. Tell me how many you think leave on their
own later.

Mr. Warren. Out of 300,000 that we estimate don't leave in a
particular year, we estimate that roughly half of those either leave
or adjust to a legal status later on.

Mr. Bryant of Texas. Within what period of time?

Mr. Warren. Within, say, 4 or 5 years. We don't get very many
departure forms from 6 or 7 years ago.

Mr. Smith. Mr. Bryant of Tennessee is recognized.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Ms. Dillard, you just made a reference to perhaps what you think
is the ultimate problem and that is the lure of economic oppor-

Ms. Dillard. Yes.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. How do we change that? Is there
something other than putting more money into existing programs?
Is there something on the waterfront there that we could do in
terms of new creative technology and genius think tank type
things? Are there ideas out there to invoke?

Mr. PuLEO. That is exactly what we are doing. Congressman.

As I said, the new document we are trying to issue this year,
begin to issue this year takes advantage of the new technology
using something similar to a credit card. It makes the data base
available to the employer. Using a magnetic stripe, they can query
our data base. And improving the technology by which we store the
fingerprint photograph and signature which can only be available.
So we are taking advantage of cutting-edge technology in making
that available to the employer while reducing the number of docu-
ments that they have to look for. So it makes it easier for them.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Is it — in terms of employer compli-
ance, is that a particular problem in terms of

Mr. PuLEO. Our estimate right now is that 83 percent I think is
the number do, in fact, comply with the employer sanctions regula-
tions — statute, excuse me. But it is particular industries. The in-
dustries, I am sure we are all aware of that habitually hire illegal
aliens, and these are the industries that we are going to target this
year in the two pilot sites. New York and Los Angeles, where we
received additional resources. And then we want to expand that to
the seven large States with the resources we requested in 1996.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Professor Jordan testified earlier — I
think most of you were in attendance — that she felt a more effec-
tive use of the Social Security number, name, date of birth, and I


think mother's maiden name — does this concept embody those

Mr. PuLEO. We are working with the Social Security Administra-
tion right now to try to get a match or even use the Social Security
number instead of our alien number.

There was some testimony I think last year by the Director of
our automated programs that said that there is no direct linkage
since we are a name data base system and they are a Social Secu-
rity number data base. So we are trying to bridge that problem by
incorporating the Social Security number as part of our data base.
And if we are allowed, we may use the Social Security number as
our alien number and overcome that obstacle.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. With the document, would that be eas-
ily forged?

Mr. PULEO. Everything is forgeable. It is according to how much
money you want to put into it. If you want to spend $100 million,
you can forge this one. This would be our new gpreen card. And we
are talking similar type of moneys with this.

But we believe with a secure document and the data base behind
it, is much more difficult. You, hopefully, can't forge our data base.
And if you get those linkages together and available to the em-
ployer, we think we can overcome the problem of fraudulent docu-

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. When, in time, can we anticipate
usage of these types of documents?

Mr. PuLEO. I will find out Monday. Our procurement office is
going to tell me how quickly we can purchase the equipment to
produce these documents. At the latest, we are looking at the end
of this calendar year. At the earliest, sometime in the fourth quar-
ter of this fiscal year which is July through September.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Do I miss this concept on the workers
card? Would we all have that here?

Mr. PULEO. It is only available to those nonimmigrants that we
allow to work in the United States. If you are an immigrant you
get the. green card, which happens to be pink now and maybe some
other color in the future. These are the only two documents that
INS wishes to gprant employment on.

We also have some legislation that we may propose to reduce the
number of documents even further for both citizens and
noncitizens. Some of the documents that are specified for the 1-9 —
for the employment process are specified in statute, and we would
ask to you consider reducing those.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Mr. Warren, Ms. Dillard, any other
ideas about that? We don't want to miss anything in terms of ways
to better do things, I know everybody that we talk to on the Hill
is taxed for resources and needs more money, but if we could better
use the people and the assets that we have — and I know that we
are all in this together.

Ms. Dillard. Yes, bigger fines on employers?

Mr. PuLEO. Diane has mentioned the current fines that we have
now on employing illegal aliens, and we have looked at that and
realized that we don't have enough data to come to you and ask
you to increase the fines. So we would like to continue to look at
the fines that we now impose on those who hire illegal aliens to


continue a few more years to see if, in fact, it should be raised, and
we could come up and ask you for that.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Let me quickly ask you, that, basi-
cally, is the only deterrence we have to employers, would be fines?

Mr. PuLEO. We think both employers and a combination of law
enforcement. That is why we are asKing for 350 new investigative
positions. And also in the President's budget there is a request for
200 Department of Labor investigators. We believe a combination
of reducing the draw through the fraudulent documents and our
compliance investigators would be the most expeditious way of han-
dling those who come and try to work here illegally.

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. Thank you. Let me also add my com-
mendation to all of vou for the work that you do.

Mr. PuLEO. Thank you very much.

Mr. Smith. Mr. Puleo and Mr. Warren, let me go back to you,
and I am looking at some fresh information that I had not seen be-
fore. But walk us through, if you will, that potential figure of a mil-
lion and a half in 1992 visa overstayers and how you go from that
million and a half figure to the 300,000 that you feel actually over-
stayed. What do you deduct to get — is it 1.5 million or more?

Mr. Warren. It is roughly 1.5. And what we are talking about
with the 1.5 million are arrival forms that are not matched with
departure forms.

Mr. Smith. Correct. Right. And how do you reduce that figure to
the 300,000?

Mr. Warren. What we do with that is, for each country we de-
velop a rate of what we call apparent overstay. And what apparent
overstay means is unmatched arrival forms. We have that number
for each country, and we work out a rate of nondeparture.

Mr. Smith. Is this just an estimate?

Mr. Warren. No, that is based on actual numbers. We know how
many should have left, so we develop a rate that we call the appar-
ent overstay rate.

We have 12 countries of the world that we have developed where
we are sure that almost no people really overstay from those coun-
tries. I don't have the list, but Australia, New Zealand — there are
12 countries where we believe that all of those rates are really
error. And let's say, for example, for these 12 countries it turns out
about 8 percent is the estimated error rate. Then that is the per-
cent of all the forms that don't get picked up, basically.

And so then, for any country, if a country has the nonmatched
arrivals divided by the number who should nave lefl, if their error
rate is at or below that level, then we assume that no one really

Mr. Smith. Even if you don't receive 8 percent of the I-94's, com-
ing back you deem that to be

Mr. Warren. Assuming that level is 8 percent, that is the error

Mr. Smith. And that is based upon the 12 countries that you say
have virtually no overstays.

Mr. Warren. Right. And we had criteria for selecting those coun-

Mr. Smith. Do you give credit to all the other countries for an
8-percent error rate?



Mr. Warren. That is right. Any error rate up to 8 percent is con-
sidered to be a part of the error — that is, forms not picked up. If
the percent of nonmatched arrival/departure forms happened to be
10 percent for a country, then 2 percent is the overstay.

Mr. Smith. Shouldn t that differ from country to country based
upon their record? Why would you give a country that has a clear
record of overstay the same low error rate?

Mr. Warren. Essentially what we say is that these 12 countries
basically don't have overstayers. And what we are developing there
is the estimate of error that we believe applies to all countries.

Mr. Smith. Assume that it does, keep working back down, that
accounts for 8 percent of the difference.

Mr. Warren. Eight percent of all the people that should have de-
parted, which is roughly 20 million people should have departed.
This error rate of 2 percent that I am talking about

Mr. Smith. So the discrepancy between IV2 million and 300,000
is due entirely to the error rate.

Mr. Warren. That is right, what we mostly believe to be forms
not picked up.

Mr. Smith. Do you believe that every year there are 300,000 visa
overstayers in the United States and is that figure going up or

Mr. Warren. Well, I use the term nonimmigrant overstays be-
cause a few people do overstay from visa waiver countries. But
roughly during the last 10 years the number has been between
250,000 and 300,000 a year in terms of the number of people who
overstayed in that particular year. But quite a few people do leave.

For example, with Poland, the example that was given for be-

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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 6 of 7)