By Jesse Byrnes - 01/20/16 01:13 PM EST
DHS: 500K foreigners overstayed visas in 2015
More than half a million people who entered the U.S. legally last year overstayed their visas, according to data released by the Department of Homeland Security this week.
Some 44,928,381 non-immigrant foreigners were admitted into the U.S. by land or sea during fiscal year 2015 for business or pleasure, according to a DHS report Tuesday. More than 500,000 of those visitors — 527,127, or just over 1 percent — overstayed the timeframe where they were legally allowed in the U.S., according to the report.
While many countries have less than 1 percent of their citizens overstaying U.S. visas, some — including Afghanistan (10.86 percent), Greece (2.31), Hungary (2.92) and Portugal (2.31), among others — had higher rates.
That data represents the number of foreigners who were in the U.S. as of September. As of Jan. 4, federal officials estimate that 416,500 were still in the country, violating the terms of their visas.
Officials have been grasping with how to track foreigners in the U.S. amid heightened fears of terrorism, while lawmakers have demanded better tracking after terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., in December that was inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The data also doesn't track those who are in the country illegally.
Iraq (6.94) and Syria (3.7), which have been of particular interest to officials eyeing potential terrorist threats, each had elevated levels amounting to hundreds of people overstaying their time.