Reminder: Seven 9/11 Terrorists Overstayed Their Visas by Using Popularly Exploited Loophole

As the 19th anniversary of 9/11 passed by, John Binder of Breitbart News reminded us that nearly half of the radical Islamic terrorists who hijacked planes had overstayed their visas at the time.

This was part of an immigration loophole that is still in place and is used by more than 500,000 foreign nationals annually.

19 terrorists directly participated in the 9/11 attacks that claimed the lives of about 3,000 Americans while injuring 6,000 others. All of the 19 terrorists arrived via legal means. 16 of them obtained tourist visas and the remaining 3 acquired businesses and student visas.

Furthermore, Binder called attention to the fact that 7 of the 19 terrorists overstayed their visas, “either before the attacks or at the time of the attacks.” None of these terrorists were even deported largely because of weak immigration enforcement policies.

None were deported, due to a lack of interior immigration enforcement.

The seven terrorists who overstayed their visas included:

  • Hani Hasan Hanjour of Saudi Arabia
  • Nawaf al-Hamzi of Saudi Arabia
  • Mohamed Atta of Egypt
  • Satam al-Suqami of Saudi Arabia
  • Waleed al-Shehri of Saudi Arabia
  • Marwan al-Shehhi of the United Arab Emirates
  • Ahmed al-Ghamdi of Saudi Arabia

Binder underscored how there is still much work to be done on immigration restriction:

Despite the 9/11 Commission urging major reforms, the lack of enforcement has gone mostly unchanged, with minor changes thanks to the Trump administration. The most significant moves to date have been the president’s constitutional travel ban and cuts to the refugee resettlement program.

For instance, though the number of visa overstays in Fiscal Year 2019 was reduced compared to the year before, more than 676,000 foreign nationals overstayed their visas last year.

In addition, Binder highlighted that roughly half of all of America’s 11 to 22 million illegal aliens come to the country on visas but ended up overstaying. The majority are not deported by federal immigration officials.

In 2019, there were 676,000 visa overstays, and of those, 320,000 came to the U.S. from non-Visa Waiver Program countries. The aforementioned countries are those that the U.S. does not permit their nationals to travel to the U.S. for stays of 90 days or less without visas.

Binder revealed a shocking factoid about how the visa waiver program relates to 9/11:

While the U.S. no longer allows nationals or recent travelers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen to participate in the Visa Waiver Program, recent travelers to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates — where the terrorists arrived from — do not have to secure visas to travel to the U.S. if they live in a Visa Waiver Program country.

Immigration has a strong national security component that Americans cannot ignore. There are certain countries and regions that pose geopolitical threats to the U.S. in both conventional and unconventional terms. They will likely exploit weakness in America’ migratory policies which tend to promote the mass movement of people.

As we lament those we lost on that fateful day 19 years ago, we must remember the importance of securing our borders and points of entry. Not getting this question right will undoubtedly lead to unprecedented political instability in America for years to come.

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