Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Border control blues

Un-named immigration officials estimate that about 40 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States came on legal visas and overstayed, according to the New York Times.

Those are some pretty shaky, flaky and vague statistics -- some would call them factoids. But, a million here and a million there and pretty soon you're talking real numbers (apologies to Everett Dirksen, apocryphally).

They are interesting titbits as we approach the Nov. 28 U.S. takeover of CNMI immigration.

I'm not being fair (of course), because those anonymous officials say the problem is mostly due to land borders and a million-plus people crossing them every day. Islands, with many fewer visitors, should be easier to control.

"But homeland security officials said that a series of pilot programs since 2004 had failed to yield an exit monitoring system that would work for the whole nation," according to the Times.

I went looking for Guam statistics, but couldn't quite put my mouse on them. I'll try again when I've got more than an hour to waste.

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