1.6 million visa overstays ignored by Obama 'priorities'
The government flagged more than 1.6 million foreign visitors for overstaying their visas from 2013 to 2015, but deportation agents said they fell too low on President Obama’s list of priorities to bother targeting for removal, according to a watchdog report released Monday.This is another example of Obama misfeasance when it came to enforcing immigration laws.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the deportation agency, concluded that it would cost too much to pursue the overstays, the Government Accountability Office said. ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations branch instead chose to focus on illegal immigrants who jumped the border and who amassed serious criminal records — the priorities Mr. Obama laid out.
Overstays pose an increasingly prominent problem in illegal immigration, with estimates saying that as the border has become more secure, migrants are attempting to enter by getting legal passes and refusing to leave when their time is up.
Some estimates say more than 40 percent of illegal immigrants each year arrived legally but overstayed.
While new border crossers were a priority for the Obama administration, overstays were not.
“ERO did not send any of the referrals to ICE field offices for enforcement action because the overstay lead referrals did not meet DHS’ enforcement priorities,” investigators said. “Specifically, ERO officials said that in most cases, overstay lead referrals do not have criminal convictions required to classify the referrals as DHS’ enforcement priority.”