NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA MONTEREY United States
Foreign nationals admitted to the United States who remain beyond their period of admission present an enforcement problem for U.S. immigration agencies. These visa overstay cases present a vulnerability for the homeland security enterprise. U.S. immigration enforcement agencies need to identify, apprehend, and remove foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas to address this issue. Identification of these subjects can be through biographical or biometric means. Current efforts to identify overstay violators rely mostly upon biographical data transmitted to enforcement agencies by third parties. Overstay violators are not normally targeted for apprehension and removal unless they present a threat to national security or public safety. Biometric exit system proponents have argued that the identification of violators through biometric means presents a faster, more efficient albeit possibly expensive method to determine who has overstayed their visas. These proponents also indicate that such a system will have an impact on the number of overstay violation cases each year. To date, this exit system has not been implemented at the U.S. border despite congressional mandates to do so. This thesis examines current visa overstay enforcement policies, evaluates the impacts of a biometric exit system, and makes policy recommendations for visa overstay enforcement efforts.