Broader security checks to reduce visa overstays
Washington — A Homeland Security Department official says the administration is cracking down on immigrants who have overstayed their travel visas by using a system that automatically checks multiple databases at the same time.
Until now, investigators had to do separate manual checks of national security, immigration and law enforcement databases.
The deputy Homeland Security counterterrorism coordinator, John Cohen, says the new policy already has identified dozens of investigative leads into people who pose national security or public safety risks.
Some of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were in the U.S. in violation of their visas, in some cases because they did not attend a school they said they would on their application for a student visa, or their visas had expired. The 9/11 Commission considered the system a major vulnerability.
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