WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, congressman for Missouri’s 6th district, introduced legislation today aimed at forcing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deport illegal immigrants living in America on expired visas. H.R. 4726, the Preventing Illegal Visa Overstays Act, will withhold pay for the Secretary of DHS until the Department enforces standing visa laws.
“There are 12 million illegal immigrants in this country – drawing welfare benefits, sending their children to public schools, and pushing down wages for American workers – but the problem extends well beyond amnesty and open borders,” said Graves.
DHS is currently responsible for making sure all immigrants temporarily living in the U.S. do not overstay their visas. In order to prevent people from slipping through the cracks and remaining here illegally, the Department is required to use a process known as ‘biometric exit tracking’ at all domestic air, sea, and land ports. According to Graves, DHS fails to fulfill that responsibility in many cases – and in others it ignores the requirement entirely.
“If we don’t enforce visa laws, we basically have open borders,” Graves said. “DHS has got to take advantage of the technology we have to keep illegal immigration numbers down, and my bill will make sure that happens. It’s not just a matter of economic security, it’s a matter of national security.”
Congress examined this issue in a hearing earlier this year, where it was estimated that as many as 40% of all people living in America illegally are here on expired visas. H.R. 4726 will require DHS to utilize the biometric exit tracking system, and impose penalties on the agency until it complies with existing visa laws.