Subcommittee Hearing: From the 9/11 Hijackers to Amine el-Khalifi: Terrorists and the Visa Overstay Problem

March 6, 2012 3:00 PM | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Chairman Miller on the hearing:

“Since 9/11, our border security efforts have been focused on securing our borders; however, more than 40 percent of all illegal aliens do not sneak across the border, they come in through the front door and never leave.  The recent case of Amine el-Khalifi, an individual who allegedly attempted to conduct a suicide attack at the U.S. Capitol, is not the first time terrorists have exploited the visa process.  In fact, el-Khalifi follows a long line of terrorists, including several of the 9/11 hijackers, who overstayed their visa and went on to conduct terror attacks.  Clearly more must be done to ensure the security of the visa system, including enhancements to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ability to identify and promptly remove those who overstay their visa.  What is especially troubling is that el-Khalifi lived illegally in the U.S. for more than 13 years before being identified by law-enforcement.  This hearing will examine the progress made since 2003 in identifying overstays, especially those that pose national security and public safety threats, and how the Department of Homeland Security plans to implement a robust visa exit system that will prevent terrorists from successfully exploiting the visa process.”

Opening Statements

Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), Chairman


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Mr. John Cohen
Deputy Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
[full text of testimony]

Mr. Peter T. Edge
Deputy Associate Director
Homeland Security Investigations
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
[full text of testimony]

Mr. David Donahue
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
Consular Affairs
U.S. Department of State
[full text of testimony]