U.S. Can't Trace Foreign Visitors on Expired VisasDALLAS - Eight years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and despite repeated mandates from Congress, the United States still has no reliable system for verifying that foreign visitors have left the country.
New concern was focused on that security loophole last week, when Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian who had overstayed his tourist visa, was accused in court of plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper. Last year alone, 2.9 million foreign visitors on temporary visas like Mr. Smadi's checked in to the country but never officially checked out, immigration officials said. While officials say they have no way to confirm it, they suspect that several hundred thousand of them overstayed their visas.
Over all, the officials said, about 40 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States came on legal visas and overstayed. Mr. Smadi's case has brought renewed calls from both parties in Congress for Department of Homeland Security officials to complete a universal elec