Dallas Bomb-Plotter in US Illegally on Expired Visa: Exposes Security Loophole

October 12, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The recent arrest of a Jordanian man for plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper, shined light on the alarming loopholes in immigration policies, which fail to track foreign visitors entering the U.S. on tourist visas. The alleged bomb-plotter, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, was in the country illegally on an expired temporary tourist visa.

And immigration officials estimate there may be several hundred thousand of illegal visitors like Smadi in the United States, who live and work in the country undetected.

Jordanian national, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi anonymously blended into the social fabric of the U.S., obtaining a state ID card, renting apartments, purchasing automobiles, a weapon and obtaining jobs, despite being in the country illegally.

Smadi’s case brought calls from lawmakers and the department of Homeland Security to implement a universal electronic exit monitoring system, to track foreign visitors who enter the U.S. on temporary visas, to ensure that they check out of the country.

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, immigration authorities have greatly improved security methods, by fingerprinting and photographing most foreign visitors entering the country, which allows officials to instantly compare them against watch list databases.

But there is no universal system in place for tracking the visitors at points of exit. The current faulty system relies on departing foreigners to voluntarily turn in a paper stub when they leave.

According to the New York Times, most of the foreign visitors do leave, but many stay behind intentionally:

“Last year, official figures show, 39 million foreign travelers were admitted on temporary visas like Mr. Smadi’s. Based on the paper stubs, homeland security officials said, they confirmed the departure of 92.5 percent of them. Most of the remaining visitors did depart, officials said, but failed to check out because they did not know how to do so. But more than 200,000 of them are believed to have overstayed intentionally.”

Hosam Maher Husein Smadi is a poster boy for the huge loopholes in the current immigration system. Two weeks before his arrest for the Dallas bombing plot, he was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy in Ellis County, Texas, for a broken tail light and then taken into custody for driving without a license or insurance.

Although Smadi’s name turned up on the F.B.I. watch list, there was no indication he was in the country illegally. The sheriff’s office even phoned the F.B.I. and was told there was no outstanding arrest warrant for Smadi, so he was released on the evening of Sept. 11, after paying a $550 fine.

Smadi’s name was entered into the watch list, because of disturbing remarks he previously posted on Jihadist Web sites, saying he wanted to kill Americans. Finally, on September 24, he was arrested by the F.B.I. for plotting to blow up the the Fountain Place office building in downtown Dallas.

F.B.I. agents posing as Al Qaeda members, arrested Smadi, after he left a truck that he had been told was carrying explosives in the building’s underground garage.



2 Responses to “Dallas Bomb-Plotter in US Illegally on Expired Visa: Exposes Security Loophole”

  1. Dallas Bomb-Plotter in US Illegally on Expired Visa: Exposes Security … – Chattahbox.com on October 12th, 2009 2:13 pm

    […] the rest here: Dallas Bomb-Plotter in US Illegally on Expired Visa: Exposes Security … – Chattahbox.com This entry was posted in Dallas News and tagged alarming, alleged-bomb, dallas, jordanian, […]

  2. Suspected Terrorist in Texas, Hosam Husein Smadi, overstayed Tourist Visa | Texas Broadside on October 13th, 2009 1:46 am

    […] had overstayed his tourist visa, was accused in court of plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper.Chattahbox news adds:Jordanian national, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi anonymously blended into the social fabric […]

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