CAPS — Visit America on a tourist visa, come as a business traveler or on the Visa Waiver Program, and stay for life. In a nutshell, that’s how the Department of Homeland Security treats nonimmigrant arrivals. Like the lyrics in the old Eagles’ song “Hotel California,” the federal government is “programmed to receive,” but when it comes time to leave, not so much.
According to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, of the 482,781 visa overstays during the 2015 fiscal year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that operates under DHS, removed only 2,456 individuals, or less than one percent. During the seven-year period since 2009, ICE removed about 50,000 visa overstays, with the annual total declining significantly each year: