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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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tween 1988 and 1992, we estimated that of the Polish we had
57,000 overstayers but 60,000 left during the same period.

Mr. Smith. That is still a relatively small percentage of people
who would leave after the year, I would assume.

Mr. Warren. Of the 300,000 that we think overstay in a year,
roughly half of those will either depart or adjust to a legal status
later on.

Mr. Smith. Why would they adjust to a legal status?

Ms. DiLLARD. They get jobs or get married

Mr. PULEO. They can marry a U.S. citizen or apply for asylum.
Thirty-three percent of the asylum applicants are nonimmigrants.
So they can be granted asylum and then adjust, marry a U.S. citi-
zen and then adjust.

Mr. Smith. At least as far as that year goes, you are using a
rough figure of 300,000 in that year, illegal aliens are visa
overstayers; is that right?

Mr. Warren. Our estimate of gpross overstays, 300,000 in a year,
yes.

Mr. Smith. My question for Mr. Puleo is, as I understand it, the
INS estimates that every year there are 400,000 illegal aliens in
the United States — who come into the United States; is that cor-
rect?

Mr. Puleo. No. It is a net of 300,000 of which we are sajrlng
150,000 are from the nonimmigrants overstay, and the other
150,000 enter without inspection.



44

Mr. Smith. The last figure I saw was 400,000. It was 300,000 up
to several years ago, and then the INS switched and said it was
400,000.

Mr. Warren. The estimates that we put out estimates that, be-
tween 1988 and 1992, the estimate is 300,000.

Mr. Smith. The 400,000 is what the GAO said— that the INS
should be estimating 400,000.

Mr. Warren. I think they talk about a limit of 4 million as far
as a total population.

Mr. Smith. So you are saying that half is due to the visa
overstayers.

Mr. Warren. I would emphasize roughly. It makes me nervous
to say exactly half.

Mr. Smith. As far as that 150,000 — I guess that is allowing for
individuals who may become legal or whatever, but at least in that
particular year there is still 300,000 who are illegal; is that correct?

Mr. Warren, Actually, the point I am making is about 300,000
overstay in a particular year; and during that same year about
100,000 or so who previously overstayed will adjust or leave the
country.

Mr. Smith. Of the individuals — how many of those individuals
who are not criminals or have not been convicted of a crime are ac-
tually deported?

Mr. PULEO. Of the 150,000?

Mr. Smith. Yes. I know some become criminal aliens, but I am
not talking about the 10 percent that become criminal aliens. I am
talking about the 90 percent who are in this country illegally who
are visa overstayers. How many of those individuals are deported?

Mr. PuLEO. We were looking at our statistics before. We assumed
that you would ask us this question. And we looked at — the latest
data was in 1993. Of the 38,000 individuals we deported, approxi-
mately half of those were criminal aliens. Unfortunately, some of
those criminal aliens were nonimmigrant overstays. But the way
we collect statistics we call them criminal aliens. So the non-
immigrant number for the 38,000 was very small.

Mr. Smith. How small was it?

Mr. PuLEO. It was less than a thousand. If you look at the first
two categories, over half of them were criminal aliens.

Mr. Smith. I am excluding the criminal aliens.

Mr. PULEO. You have to include criminal aliens because part of
the criminal aliens were nonimmigrant overstays.

Mr. Smith. I am talking about individuals in this country that
had not been convicted of a crime, and you said less than a thou-
sand.

Mr. F^JLEO. I said our statistics do not show pure nonimmigrant
overstays because some of our criminal aliens are also non-
immigrant overstays.

Mr. Smith. What was your less than a thousand figure? What
did that refer to?

Mr. PuLEO. The only reason they were deported was for non-
immigrant overstays. Tney had no other reason to be deported.

Mr. Smith. What was that figure exactly?

Mr. PuLEO. We will have to look it up.

Mr. Warren. Six hundred and fifty-eight.



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45

Mr. Smith. So if the figure I have heard is correct, that 10 per-
cent of the visa overstayers are criminal aliens, and you deduct 10
percent from 150,000, that is 15,000 of the 135,000 people who are
visa overstayers every year, you are deporting 658 or roughly
thereabouts — less than 1 percent.

Mr. PuLEO. But you have to look at the overall

Mr. Smith. I know we could go back and forth on that.

My point is the same point that Barbara Jordan made, which is
that deportation has to be part of your policy if you are going to
have — —

Mr. PuLEO. Don't forget voluntary return. There are those who
return voluntarily. Of the 1.1 million or 1.2 million people who
were expelled from the United States, 38,000 were deportations.
The rest were voluntary returns. There are a number of those who
will voluntarily return because there is a benefit not to be de-
ported.

Mr. Smith. You have answered my question — 658 out of 135,000.
I don't know if that is a lack of will or a lack of personnel or maybe
a combination of both. That is an awfully low figure.

It sounds to me that the message we are giving out is, if you
overstay, you are here to stay if you don't commit a crime. That,
to me, is not a legitimate message to be giving to foreign visitors
whether they are tourists or here for business reasons or whatever
else.

My next question is, at one time — and you will know better than
I — there were a number of local and State public entities, law en-
forcement entities, who were not cooperating with the INS in the
apprehension of illegal aliens. Is this still the case? If so, what do
we need to do to compel these individuals or organizations to co-
operate? Or is this not still the case?

Mr. PULEO. It is less of a problem now with local law enforce-
ment assisting INS. It was a problem in some States. San Fran-
cisco, for example, was a problem before and so was. Chicago. That
has now diminished, and there is direct working relationships with
law enforcement.

One problem we are having is based on, I believe, section 507 of
the Immigration Act of 1990. States were required to notify and
present records of conviction to us. If they did not, they would not
receive benefits from the Office of Justice Programs. Some States
are not providing that information to us. They see that the number
of convictions that are aliens in their States are so low that they
don't wish to receive the benefit of the dollars.

Mr. Smith. Let me ask you this. Are there any municipalities or
law enforcement organizations in the top six or seven immigration
States who have voted or otherwise given you reason to believe
that they are not going to cooperate with the INS in identifying il-
legal aliens?

Mr. PuLEO. I am not aware of any right now. No.

Mr. Smith. No city council has voted or passed a regulation?

Mr. PuLEO. The only one I know is Tacoma Park, MD. San Fran-
cisco was one and so was Chicago. But that has since passed. That
is no longer the case.



46

Mr. Smith. My time is up. Let me see if any of the other Mem-
bers here have further questions. And, if not, I am going to go back
to the next time.

Mr. Bryant or Mr. Heineman. Then let me keep going then, if I
may.

I think it is in your testimony where you talk about a telephone
verification system, and you mentioned this in response to a ques-
tion a while ago as well. Do you agree with the Commission that
we are going to have to have some form of verification system if
we are going to end discrimination at the workplace and assure
that illegal aliens do not wrongfully or are not wrongfully given
jobs and Federal benefits?

Mr. PuLEO. Absolutely. As I was describing to Mr. Bryant before,
one of the ways that we have of combating those who would at-
tempt to produce fraudulent employment authorization documents
is the data base that supports it. And I agree with that.

Mr. Smith. How can that be implemented and what is the cost
estimate on that?

By the way, I realize the cost estimate is one thing if you say
today we are changing everything, and it is something else if you
say that everybody from now who applies for this card or turns 18
is issued a tamper-proof card. But give me the range of cost and
tell me how you would recommend implementing the system.

Mr. PuLEO. It is somewhere around $2.5 million. And we are
going to request reprogramming in our exams fee account to fund
the changeover to this new document. I don't know the exact num-
ber because I don't know the equipment we are going to purchase
and what the cost of it is. I am giving you the estimate of one piece
of equipment and he data entry contract expansion that we need
at our service centers. It is about $2.5 million.

Mr. Smith. Do you have — what about the criticism that it is an
infringement or inv asion of privacy? How can that be averted?

Mr. PuLEO. Well, these are nonimmigrants who are here in the
United States who are requesting work authorization. To get work
authorization they have to be granted by the INS and given this
document. And it is part of the verification process. It comes after
the person is granted employment. It doesn't come before. And we
have to make that distinction.

So it is someone who has been granted employment. The em-
ployer is now filling out the 1-9 form, the employment document,
and they will be able to verify the authenticity of the document
they are carrying by querying our data base. I don't believe it will
be an infringement on their privacy.

Mr. Smith. What I was going to was the larger question of a ver-
ification system that would be used for anyone who is entitled to
a Social Security card today and having them use a Social Security
card in effect as a work permit card. They would have to show it
when they first show up to work, but they don't have to carry it
around like an ID card in Europe. Which is a distinction between
a verification system and a national ID card like in so many other
countries. That is what my questions were really going to.

Mr. PuLEO. I narrowly answered it because these are the only
two documents that we issue. We are not involved in issuing any



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47

documents for citizens. We only issue them for permanent resi-
dents or nonimmigrants.

Mr. Smith. I am talking about what the Commission rec-
ommended, and you are familiar with that.

Mr. PULEO. And we asked for in the President's budget this
year — there are moneys requested to test that feasibility of linking
up our data bases and having pilots on the verification system.

Mr. Smith. I think all we are talking about in the verification
system is you say linking up Social Security Administration and
INS.

There are two other questions that come to mind with regard to
that, and one is that no matter how good your data is, you still
have the problem of the fraudulent breeder documents, documents
that are used to obtain a Social Security card like a birth certifi-
cate. How do we ensure that only those who are entitled to the jobs
and benefits receive them?

Mr. PuLEO. That is an excellent question. It is near and dear to
my heart. It not only deals with employment but also benefits
under the Immigration Act.

The birth certificate is a major breeder document for us. I think
there are 2,000 entities in the United States that issue various
tvpes of birth certificates, and none of them are the same. None of
them have the same security features, and it is very difficult for
us who are familiar with documents to try to intercept the fraudu-
lent documents versus the good ones.

I mean, I could give you an idea that maybe we could tell every
State or direct every State to use a standard document. It is some-
thing that we may want to look at as an option, if we could stand-
ardize the issuance of birth certificates in the United States or
maybe standardize the document that is issued itself.

Mr. Smith. That is going to need to be a part of solution ulti-
mately, one way or the other.

Mr. PuLEO. Absolutely.

Mr. Smith. I am intrigued by something that I have heard that
I believe is a verification system that might even exist without a
tangible card, and that is iust a telephone verification system. How
would that work? And is that as good as a tamper-proof card?

Mr. PuLEO. Well, we have it now with nine employers, a tele-
phone verification system. And this year we are expanding it to
200, most of it in Los Angeles, to deal with the pilot.

We are going to have one city, Los Angeles, with additional sanc-
tions, officers and criminal investigators and an expansion of the
telephone verification system. New York will not. So we will be
able to see the difference between having a verification system or
not.

Mr. Smith. How would that work?

Mr. PuLEO. It is simply these 200 employers would be able to
phone in into our data base and query it, asking a person do you
have any data on this? It would be similar to the card we have
now. Instead of striping it you would simply call into a phone num-
ber. This one you would query it by running it through the reader.

Mr. Smith. When will we have the results of some of these pilot
programs around the country?



48

Mr. PuLEO. We should have some results next fiscal year. Unfor-
tunately, the moneys for our criminal investigators are late in the
year. They won't even be on board this fiscal year. They will have
to go through 15 weeks of training. They will not be on board until
1996.

Mr. Smith. Let me go to another quick subject and that is the
problem of border crossing cards that are used for individuals from
Mexico and Canada. The Jordan Commission report uses the words
"widespread misuse of border crossing cards." Would you address
that problem and explain how we might correct it?

Mr. PULEO. I don't know if it is a misuse. What she mentioned
this morning was that there was a problem in El Paso where peo-
ple were crossing illegally.

Mr. Smith. The word "misuse" is not my word. That is the Com-
mission's word.

Mr. PuLEO. They were crossing illegally, even though they had
border crossing cards.

As a second phase of the improvement of our documents, once we
have improved the employment authorization document, to go on
and look at the two other documents — the green card, the 1-551;
and the border crossing card. The number is 1-586. We are looking
to improve the fraudulent tamper — make it more tamper resistent
and also to include increased data on the back.

The document we are looking at is this one here, has a CD capa-
bility on the back which can contain up to 2 million bytes of mem-
ory. We can embed security features in there that would make it
more fraud resistant.

Mr. Smith. This is the quote that I was looking for: 'The Com-
mission is troubled by evidence of substantial misuse of border
crossing cards. In 1993, 24,000 plus cards were intercepted after is-
suance for counterfeiting, alteration or use by imposters in viola-
tion of the conditions of usage."

Is what you just described a possible way to avert that? It seems
like this is a whole other problem.

Mr. PuLEO. Except for the misuse; remember the use of the bor-
der crossing card is restricted to 25 miles from the border and 72
hours duration of stay in the United States. But we think that the
document that we are looking at will certainly assist us. It is more
tamper proof so you will not get photo substitution. The fact that
we can embed the data in the card will get us away from impost-
ers.

Misuse is something that we will have to look at better, interior
enforcement.

Mr. Smith. Groing back once more to the problems of visa
overstayers and collecting the 1-94 forms from the airlines, if that
is really a problem should we be relying entirely on the airlines to
collect the forms? Should the Grovernment get involved? Should we
be putting more pressure on the airlines? What is the answer to
that? What is the best solution?

Mr. PuLEO. Well, if you are looking to install an outbound con-
trol, as some countries have, you would have to duplicate the num-
ber of inspectors we have now. We have 3,600 inspectors. We are
understaffed by a thousand on the southern border.



49

Mr. Smith. Could we put some kind of pressure on the airlines
to cooperate and have some kind of sanction if they don't?

Mr. PuLEO. We already have fines that we impose on them. But
we think there is a better solution, and that is what we are work-
ing on with airlines right now, on electronic transfer of the infor-
mation. The airlines are interested because it would assist them in
eliminating the 1-94 so that they can produce it electronically. We
are interested because they can transfer the information to us im-
mediately so we don't have a lag of data entry. And, also, as the
alien departs, they can transmit the manifest electronically to us,
so it would clear our nonimmigprant overstays immediately, and we
will be able to know exactly what the overstay rate is.

Mr. Smith. That is an improvement. I have read about it.

You mentioned the fines. What was the dollar value of the fines
impose on the airlines last year?

Mr. PuLEO. I remember the year before. I apologize. Last year
there was $21 million in fines levied against airlines.

Mr. Smith. How does that work?

Mr. PuLEO. If someone shows up at a port of entry with no docu-
mentation, fraudulent documentation, or they don't retrieve the I-
94, there are various levels of fines we impose. I don't remember
what they are. They vary from $500 to $3,000.

Mr. Smith. Was $21 million collected from airlines? Not just on
paper fines but they were actually collected from airlines?

Mr. PuLEO. Absolutely. That goes back into the user fees that we
use to fund our pTogram.

Mr. Smith. Any other questions?

Thank you all for being with us. Appreciate your patience. The
meeting is adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 12:14 p.m., subcommittee was adjourned.]

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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 7 of 7)