Press Release


Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee to Examine Visa Overstays and Terrorism — TOMORROW

Washington, D.C. – The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, chaired by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), will hold a hearing entitled “From the 9/11 Hijackers to Amine el-Khalifi: Terrorists and the Visa Overstay Problem” tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Room 311 Cannon House Office Building.

Tomorrow’s hearing will examine the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure the border through the visa system and the challenges DHS faces in identifying individuals who overstay their visas — specifically those individuals who entered the U.S. prior to implementation of post-9/11 reforms.

Last month, a 29 year-old Moroccan man, Amine el-Khalifi, was arrested by the FBI for plotting to detonate a bomb during a suicide attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.  El-Khalifi entered the United States in 1999 on a tourist visa that expired later that year, but remained in the United States illegally since that time.

This hearing will give Members the opportunity to examine how gaps and vulnerabilities in the visa and immigration system have been addressed in the 10 years since 9/11, and review what deficiencies in tracking visa overstays remain.

Miller said: “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.”

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

When:                 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Where:                311 Cannon House Office Building

                           **Live video feed will be available HERE

Opening statements, witness testimony, and the live video feed will be available online HERE

Witness List:

Mr. John Cohen
Deputy Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. Peter T. Edge
Deputy Associate Director
Homeland Security Investigations
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mr. David Donahue
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
Consular Affairs
U.S. Department of State