Diese Präsentation wurde erfolgreich gemeldet.
Die SlideShare-Präsentation wird heruntergeladen. ×
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Border Security: An Examination of Visa
Overstays Through the Lens of Complex Systems
By: Heather MacDonald (37833)
A thes...
iii
Abstract
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government implemented a series of
policy reforms to addr...
iv
Kurzfassung
Infolge der Terroranschläge vom 11. September 2011, hat die US-Regierung eine Reihe von
politischen Reforme...
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Anzeige
Wird geladen in …3
×

Hier ansehen

1 von 90 Anzeige

Weitere Verwandte Inhalte

Ähnlich wie Heather Thesis Final (20)

Anzeige

Heather Thesis Final

  1. 1. Border Security: An Examination of Visa Overstays Through the Lens of Complex Systems By: Heather MacDonald (37833) A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Policy 2016 Willy Brandt School of Public Policy University of Erfurt First Reader: Prof. Dr. Heike Grimm Second Reader: Erfurt, July 8, 2016
  2. 2. iii Abstract In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government implemented a series of policy reforms to address areas of vulnerability in the U.S. border security system. Among these reforms was a move to implement a biometric entry-exit system to help monitor individuals who entered the country on both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. As of 2016, this system does not exist. In fiscal year 2015, the United States reported over 500,000 nonimmigrant visa overstays, sending a wave of concern through Congress over the inability of law enforcement agencies to properly track and detain individuals who overstay their admission. The aim of the following thesis is to analyze the current visa security system from a complex systems perspective. This paper examines the elements, interconnections, and functions of the current visa security system in order to determine the variables contributing to the current visa overstay rate. More specifically, the research examines both inter- and intra-agency communication to see if interactions between agencies are influencing the visa overstay rate. By identifying the nature of the relationship between agents within the visa security system, this thesis proposes a series of policy recommendations for the United States to mitigate the rate of visa overstays and in turn improve security for U.S. citizens. These recommendations are made within the confines of the current system and take into consideration possible barriers to implementation. Ultimately, the research aims to put forth a more effective visa security system that would simultaneously improve security while also maintain the United States’ image as an open, immigrant-friendly nation. Word Count: 22,387
  3. 3. iv Kurzfassung Infolge der Terroranschläge vom 11. September 2011, hat die US-Regierung eine Reihe von politischen Reformen durchgeführt, welche sich auf anfällige Bereiche des US- Grenzsicherungssystems beziehen. Zu diesen Reformen gehörte ein Vorstoß zur Einführung eines biometrischen „entry-exit“ Systems, welches helfen soll, Individuen zu beobachten, die das Land mit Visa für Immigranten und solcher für Nichtimmigranten betreten haben. Stand 2016 existierte dieses System aber noch nicht. Im Fiskaljahr 2015 haben die Vereinigten Staaten über 500 000 Fälle von überzogenen Visa für Nichtimmigranten gemeldet. Dies hat im Kongress zu einer Welle der Besorgnis über die Unfähigkeit der Vollzugsbehörden, Individuen, die ihr Visa überziehen, ordentlich zu verfolgen und zu inhaftieren, geführt. Ziel der vorliegenden Arbeit ist es, das aktuelle Visa-Sicherheitssystem von einer komplexen Systemperspektive aus zu analysieren. Es sollen hierbei die Elemente, Querverbindungen und Funktionen des momentanen Visa- Sicherheitssystems untersucht werden, um die Variablen zu bestimmen, welche zur momentanen Quote der überzogenen Visa beitragen. Genauer gesagt betrachtet die Untersuchung sowohl die inter- als auch die intrabehördliche Kommunikation, um zu erschließen, ob die Interaktionen zwischen den einzelnen Behörden die Quote der überzogenen Visa beeinflussen. Durch die Feststellung der Art und Weise der Beziehung zwischen den Akteuren innerhalb des Visa- Sicherheitssystems gibt die vorliegende Arbeit eine Reihe von Politikempfehlungen für die Vereinigten Staaten, welche der Verringerung der Quote der überzogenen Visa dienen und somit die Sicherheit von US-Bürgern verbessern soll. Diese Empfehlungen werden im Rahmen der bestehenden Grenzen des momentanen Systems getroffen und berücksichtigen mögliche Hürden für deren Implementierung. Letztlich zielt die Arbeit darauf ab, zu einem effektiveren Visa- Sicherheitssystem beizutragen, welches gleichzeitig die Sicherheit verbessert und das Bild der Vereinigten Staaten als offene, einwanderungsfreundliche Nation aufrecht erhält. Gesamtzahl der Wörter: 22.387
  4. 4. v LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS ADIS Arrival and Departure Information System CA Bureau of Consular Affairs CAS Complex Adaptive Systems CCD Consular Consolidated Database CBP Customs and Border Patrol CIS Center for Immigration Studies CTCEU Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit DHS Department of Homeland Security DOD Department of Defense DOJ Department of Justice DOS Department of State DS Diplomatic Security EOIR Executive Office for Immigration Review ERO Enforcement and Removal Operations EBSVERA Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation FY Fiscal Year GAO Government Accountability Office HSI Homeland Security Investigations HSIP Homeland Security Innovation Programs ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICA Immigration and Checkpoints Authority INA Immigration and Nationality Act INS Immigration and Naturalization Services ITI International to International MOU Memorandum of Understanding NGI Next Generation Identification NSS National Security Strategy
  5. 5. vi NSC National Security Council NTC National Targeting Center OBIM Office of Biometric Identification Management ODT Organizational Design Theory OIF Operation Iraq Freedom PATRIOT Pre-Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team Initiative POE Port of Entry SOP Standard Operating Procedure TECS Treasury Enforcement Communications System TSC Terrorist Screening Center TWOV Transit Without Visa USCIS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service US-VISIT The United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology VSP Visa Security Program VSU Visa Security Unit
  6. 6. vii Table of Contents I. INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................................1 A. MAJOR RESEARCH QUESTIONS .........................................................................................................................2 B. THESIS OVERVIEW ............................................................................................................................................2 C. IMPORTANCE.....................................................................................................................................................3 D. PROBLEMS AND HYPOTHESIS ............................................................................................................................3 E. METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................................................................4 F. LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................................................................................5 1. What is a Visa Overstay?..................................................................................................................................5 2. Visa Security Issues...........................................................................................................................................7 3. Organizational Design Theory........................................................................................................................11 4. Systems Thinking, Complexity Theory, and Complex Adaptive Systems........................................................12 5. Strategy Development Using CAS...................................................................................................................16 6. Whole of Government Planning......................................................................................................................17 7. Conclusion ......................................................................................................................................................18 II. FRAMEWORK OF THE VISA SECURITY SYSTEM ...................................................................................20 A. ELEMENTS.......................................................................................................................................................20 1. Federal Agencies........................................................................................................................................20 A. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).............................................................................................................. 20 B. Department of State (DOS)..................................................................................................................................... 22 C. Department of Justice (DOJ) .................................................................................................................................. 22 2. Political Elements ......................................................................................................................................23 A. Legislative .............................................................................................................................................................. 23 B. Executive................................................................................................................................................................ 23 3. Private Elements ........................................................................................................................................23 A. Airlines ................................................................................................................................................................... 24 B. DYNAMISM/INTERCONNECTIONS.....................................................................................................................24 1. The Visa Security Program (VSP)..............................................................................................................25 2. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP)..............................................................................................................25 3. Biometric Collection ..................................................................................................................................26 4. Training......................................................................................................................................................26 5. Pre-Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team Initiative (PATRIOT) ...............27 6. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)....................................................................................................27 7. Overstay Enforcement................................................................................................................................27 C. CONCLUSION...................................................................................................................................................28 III. VISA SECURITY – A LOOK AT THE HISTORY ........................................................................................29 A. VISA SECURITY POLICIES BEFORE 9/11...........................................................................................................29 B. VISA SECURITY POLICIES AFTER 9/11.............................................................................................................30 IV – ANALYSIS – EXAMINING THE SYSTEM..................................................................................................34 A. PREVENTING VISA OVERSTAYS.......................................................................................................................34 1. Strategy Formulation .................................................................................................................................34 A. DHS Strategy.......................................................................................................................................................... 36 B. DOS Strategy.......................................................................................................................................................... 37 C. Convergence of Strategy......................................................................................................................................... 38 2. Inter-Agency Programs..............................................................................................................................39 A. Visa Security Program (VSP)................................................................................................................................. 39 B. Visa Waiver Program (VWP)................................................................................................................................. 41 C. System Limitations................................................................................................................................................. 42 B. TRACKING VISA OVERSTAYS ..........................................................................................................................44
  7. 7. viii 1. Biometric Exit System ................................................................................................................................44 2. Overstay Enforcement and Prioritization ..................................................................................................46 3. System Limitations .....................................................................................................................................48 A. Intra-Agency Fragmentation................................................................................................................................... 48 B. Political Limitations ............................................................................................................................................... 50 C. Lack of Consensus.................................................................................................................................................. 50 D. SUMMARY.......................................................................................................................................................51 V. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS AND ANTICIPATED BARRIERS .....................................................53 A. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS ..........................................................................................................................53 1. Whole of Government Strategy ..................................................................................................................53 2. Merge CBP and ICE ..................................................................................................................................54 3. Continue to Develop DHS-DOS Relationship............................................................................................55 4. Joint DHS-DOS Strategic Plan..................................................................................................................56 5. Support from the Administration................................................................................................................56 6. Commitment to Enforcement......................................................................................................................57 7. Continue Development of a Biometric Exit System....................................................................................58 8. Implement more Automated Lanes of Communication ..............................................................................59 9. Fines for Visa Overstays ............................................................................................................................60 10. Continue to Improve VWP Information-sharing and Compliance.........................................................60 B. ANTICIPATED BARRIERS .................................................................................................................................61 1. Bureaucratic...............................................................................................................................................61 A. Barriers ................................................................................................................................................................... 61 B. Solutions................................................................................................................................................................. 61 2. Political......................................................................................................................................................62 A. Barriers ................................................................................................................................................................... 62 B. Solutions................................................................................................................................................................. 62 3. Funding......................................................................................................................................................63 A. Barriers ................................................................................................................................................................... 63 B. Solutions................................................................................................................................................................. 63 VI. CONCLUSION....................................................................................................................................................64 A. RESEARCH QUESTIONS....................................................................................................................................64 B. FUTURE RESEARCH AND A WAY FORWARD ....................................................................................................66 APPENDIX 1: FY 2014 NON-VWP OVERSTAY TABLES.................................................................................68 APPENDIX 2: DHS ORGANIZATIONAL CHART .............................................................................................73 APPENDIX 3: CURRENT VSP HEADQUARTERS STRUCTURE...................................................................74 APPENDIX 4: TIMELINE OF EVENTS RELATED TO BIOMETRIC ENTRY AND EXIT SYSTEM .......75 APPENDIX 5: EXPERT INTERVIEWS ................................................................................................................76 BIBLIOGRAPHY......................................................................................................................................................77
  8. 8. ix Table of Figures Figure 1: B1/B2 Visitors Visa Issuance Rate............................................................................................9 Figure 2: Operating Environments, Decision Requirements and Design Considerations .................12 Figure 3: System Structure ......................................................................................................................15 Figure 4: Departmental Interconnections in Visa Security System .....................................................28 Figure 5: Visa Application Process..........................................................................................................33 Figure 6: Sample of U.S. Government Strategies...................................................................................35 Figure 7: VSP Performance Measures, Reporting Mechanisms, and Data Limitations ...................40 Figure 8: DHS Programs and Responsibilities.......................................................................................49 Figure 9: Visa Overstay Causal Loop .....................................................................................................52 Figure 10: U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) Reported Percentage of Homeland Security Investigations Field Office Investigative Hours Dedicated to Overstay Investigations, Fiscal Years 2005-2012 .............................................................................................................................57
  9. 9. 1 I. Introduction In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimated that 527,127 individuals who had entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, or approximately 1.16 percent, had overstayed their admission. DHS released this information as a result of increasing pressure from Congress to improve tracking of foreign visitors who overstayed their deadline to leave. The November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, coupled with the December 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, further swayed policymakers to demand stronger efforts by law enforcement agencies to improve visa issuance security, national screening procedures, and tracking of visa overstays. The discussion of visa security is not new among policymakers in the United States. Today’s visa policies date back to 1924, when the U.S. Congress passed legislation delegating the consular officers of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) in embassies as the responsible parties to approve or deny visas. In addition, immigration officers were required to check the papers of aliens upon entrance into the country. From the very beginning of visa issuance policies, multiple government agencies have been involved in the process. Since September 11, 2001, border areas and ports of entry (POE) have been marked as potential sources of vulnerability. In order to counter this vulnerability, there has been a remarkable transformation in visa issuance security. The most notable change accompanied the Homeland Security Act of November 2002, which brought together more than twenty federal agencies under the umbrella of DHS. (Iyer, 2011) At this point, both DHS and DOS became jointly responsible for visa issuance and enforcement policy. With the creation of DHS, the Bush administration endeavored to create a “smart border”, with a goal to “integrate actions abroad to screen goods and people prior to their arrival in sovereign US territory,…allow extensive prescreening of low-risk traffic, thereby allowing limited assets to focus attention on high-risk, [and] use…advanced technology to track the movement of cargo and the entry and exit of individuals.” (Koslowski, 2005, p. 1) The creation of DHS also ushered in multiple new levels of complexity within the visa security paradigm.
  10. 10. 2 The U.S. government relies on its ability to communicate at both the inter- and intra-agency level to implement effective policies at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels. This requires cooperative and effective communication between government agencies, including members of the diplomatic, intelligence, security, and defense communities. However, these lanes of communication do not exist in a linear realm; complex systems create multiple interrelations in which different agents often compete to pursue conflicting goals. It is the government’s responsibility to design a framework that enhances cooperation, communication, and information- sharing between all levels. This thesis evaluates complex systems and interagency cooperation. More specifically, it will seek to find out if inter- and intra-agency communication has had an influence on the number of individuals who have overstayed their temporary nonimmigrant visas in the post-9/11 era. By exploring how inter- and intra-agency lanes of communication are executed, the research seeks to offer comprehensive policy recommendations to address the problems of visa overstays in the United States. A. Major Research Questions This analysis focuses on answering the following research questions:  To what extent has inter and intra-agency communication between U.S. government agencies and organizational complexities affected the visa overstay rate in the United States?  Is it possible to create a more effective visa security system that would reduce the visa overstay rate in the United States, and what are the roadblocks for the establishment of such a system? B. Thesis Overview Five main chapters follow a logical sequence in order to answer the research questions listed previously. Chapter II lays out the framework of the current visa security system. This chapter takes a comprehensive look at the elements and interconnections within the system. This chapter also gives a brief overview of the organizational structure of DHS and DOS – the departments most involved in visa security processes. Chapter III provides an overview of the history of the visa security process. The chapter primarily focuses on the post- September 11 policies, as these are most relevant to this paper. Chapter IV offers a comprehensive analysis of the cause of visa overstays using the theoretical framework provided in the Literature Review section. Finally,
  11. 11. 3 chapter V introduces proposed policy solutions to address the problem of visa overstays in the United States and the anticipated barriers to implementation. The thesis concludes with chapter VI, where future areas of research are suggested. C. Importance This research is particularly relevant in light of recent terrorist attacks and the specific attention policymakers are now placing on visa security policies. Since 1996, there has been a congressional mandate to create a system for tracking individuals who enter and exit the country. (Committee on the Judiciary, 2007, p. 1) Nearly 20 years later, a reliable and comprehensive way to measure who leaves the country still does not exist. Contributing to this policy problem are a myriad of variables: budgeting, political will, organizational complexities, culture, strategy development, and administration changes, to name a few. The research attempts to see if there is a correlation between certain variables and the dependent variable - the rate of visa overstays in the United States. Both the U.S. government and the citizens of the United States have a stake in this issue, as it falls under the category of improving national security. What this thesis hopes to accomplish, if successful, is to offer a way forward to increase the effectiveness of the departments and agencies responsible for visa security in the United States. D. Problems and Hypothesis The research conducted raises some important issues that might be inhibiting the current visa security system. The most anticipated issues are bureaucratic resistance to change, cultural gaps between agencies responsible for the oversight of visa security policy and implementation, and politicking. The more explicit challenge is to come up with a feasible way to improve visa security policies in the United States. Two hypotheses were developed to address the two research questions of the thesis. The first hypothesis is that organizational complexity and communication methods are impeding the ability of the agencies responsible for visa security policy in the United States to implement a system that most effectively addresses the problem of visa overstays. The alternative hypothesis to this is that
  12. 12. 4 by having multiple agencies involved in visa security policy, effectiveness is enhanced through increased oversight. The hypothesis to the second research question is that a more effective visa security system is possible, but highly partisan cultural environments within government agencies will make it difficult to implement these more effective visa security policies. Regardless of whether or not a more effective visa security system is implemented, the research conducted in this paper raises a few important questions. What is the goal of U.S. visa security policies? Against the backdrop of a complex system, how can the government conflate the goals of different agencies within the security network of the United States? More specifically, how can the United States promote tourism and other important economic transactions while simultaneously ensuring the safety of its citizens by providing a safe and secure border? In order to do so, the current framework of visa security policies must be assessed. The research will analyze which agencies play a role in visa security and how these agencies interact with one another. This assessment will bring to light the organizational complexity and compartmentalization that exists in the current system. It will highlight the problems that arise by having multiple agencies involved in different parts of the visa security process in the absence of a coherent national security strategy that addresses the issue of visa overstays. While the United States does in fact have a written National Security Strategy (NSS), the published strategy does not touch on visa security policy. Furthermore, the research will touch on how different stakeholders and actors involved in visa security want the system to evolve; highlighting how divergent and conflicting goals can have an influence on the effectiveness of a system. E. Methodology This thesis is a policy analysis that looks at policy processes and formulations in order to examine the current visa security apparatus. This policy analysis uses a systems approach, and focuses on the elements, interconnections, and functions within the visa security system. Furthermore, the analysis examines the bureaucratic, political, and financial factors that are currently influencing the visa security paradigm. There is a lack of consensus in regard to the success of border security strategies, and in turn visa security strategies. Policymakers and scholars have a large range of views on how to evaluate the success of current policies affecting visa security. For this reason, the thesis combines a
  13. 13. 5 collection of legislative reports, oversight reports, literature, interviews, and Congressional statements in order to evaluate the effectiveness of current policies. The research employs a qualitative approach to analysis instead of a quantitative approach. A qualitative approach is important, as the purpose of the paper is to examine the motivation behind current visa security policies. This research lies heavily in understanding the feelings, values, and perceptions that influence the behavior of visa security systems, which is appropriately addressed using qualitative research methods. F. Literature Review The intent of this literature review is to establish an understanding of the concepts that will be applied throughout the research, beginning with a look at visa overstays in the United States as of 2016. The chapter then examines a common assessment as to why visa security policies are not working as effectively as they could. It then takes a more holistic look at Organizational Design Theory (ODT), systems thinking, complexity theory, and complex adaptive systems (CAS). Following this, there will be an in-depth look at strategy development, as this also plays a role in organizational design and complex systems. 1. What is a Visa Overstay? Written protocol for visa issuance is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Visas are classified into two categories: immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. Immigrant visas are issued to aliens who to come to live permanently in the United States. Some of the qualifiers for immigrant visas are:  a spouse or minor child of a U.S. citizen  a spouse or minor child of a legal permanent resident  a winner of a visa in the diversity lottery  a refugee or asylee determined to be fleeing persecution  a parent, adult child, or sibling of an adult U.S. citizen (Wasem, 2011, p. 2) Nonimmigrant visas are given to aliens seeking to come to the United States for a temporary visit. As of 2016, there are 24 major nonimmigrant visa categories, and over 70 specific types of nonimmigrant visas. (Wasem, 2011, p. 2) Visas are commonly referred to by the letter
  14. 14. 6 and number that indicate the subparagraph of the INA. The most common nonimmigrant visas fall into the following categories:  B-2: tourist visas  F-1: foreign students  H-1B: temporary professional workers  J-1: cultural exchange participants  M-1: student visa for vocational and technical schools A visa overstay occurs when a foreign national who is legally admitted to the United States for a specific authorized period remains in the United States after that period expires, unless an extension or a change of status has been approved. (Wasem, 2014, p. 1) DHS identifies two types of overstays: individuals whose departure from the United States has not been recorded (Suspected In-Country Overstays) and those immigrants whose overstays have been recorded, but who departed the country after the legal admissions period had expired. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2016, p. iii) By 1996, the estimated number of illegal immigrants in the United States was approximately 5.8 million. Of these 5.8 million, about 2.1 million (41%) were estimated to be immigrants who had overstayed their visas. The remaining 3.7 million were believed to have entered the country through illegal means. (Wasem, 2014, p. 1) In January 2016, for the first time since the creation of the department, DHS released an official report analyzing the rate of visa overstays in the United States. While Congress has been demanding such a report since 1996, DHS repeatedly contended that such a report could not be compiled. This report studied nearly 45 million travelers who entered the United States through both air and seaports using business and pleasure visas in FY 2015. The findings of the report are highlighted below. (Gomez, 2016) The report determined that there were a total of 44,928,381 nonimmigrant admissions through air or sea ports to the United States for either pleasure or business purposes that were expected to depart in FY 2015. The report admits that challenges remain with integration of systems used for reporting on visa categories beyond business or pleasure. Of this number, DHS
  15. 15. 7 calculated that 1.17 percent, or 527,127 individuals overstayed their visas. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2016, p. iv) The report further breaks this number down to determine that by January 4, 2016, the number of suspected overstays had dropped to 416,000, or 0.9 percent. For details on the rate of overstays by country, see Appendix 1. The report emphasizes the importance of identifying overstays for national security, public safety, immigration enforcement, and immigration benefit application processing. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2016, p. 15) Furthermore, it stresses the relevance in building partnerships in both the private and public sector in order to improve data and information-sharing. The report concludes that DHS has made significant progress in its ability to accurately communicate the number of visa overstays in the United States. While DHS followed through on the request by Congress to provide reliable data on visa overstay statistics, the program still does not suggest solutions for the overt problem in the system; the lack of a viable exit processing system at air, land, and sea POEs. This will be further discussed later in this paper. 2. Visa Security Issues Current literature focuses on a number of factors influencing the visa overstay rates in the United States. One school of thought looks at the interaction between DOS and DHS. This school of thought contends that employees working for the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) tend to have a diplomatic rather than a law enforcement mindset. This leads to the proclivity for officers to issue visas to foreign nationals who might overstay a visa. DOS is responsible for issuing visas and DHS plays the role of overseer and inspector. Congress floated an idea for DHS to take control of all visa issuance functions in the post-9/11 era, but DHS opted out of this. Rather, DHS chose to assign staff to consular posts abroad to conduct, review, and advise investigations on visa applicants. (Wasem, 2011, p. 1) Some policymakers, scholars, and other government officials have expressed the view that DOS has maintained too much control over the issuance of visas, with emphasis on diplomacy outweighing the necessity for security. The INA specifically gives consular officers the sole responsibility to adjudicate visas. And over the years, courts have maintained that consular decisions are not appealable. (Wasem, 2011, p. 4) Under current legislation, all foreign nationals applying for a visa must undergo admissibility
  16. 16. 8 reviews (interviews) by DOS consular officers abroad. This process includes a face-to-face interview, submission of photographs and fingerprints, as well as proof that the individual does not have any of the following criteria:  Criminal history  Security and terrorist concerns  Public charge (e.g., indigence)  Seeking to work without proper labor certification  Immigration law violations  Ineligible for citizenship  Aliens previously removed (Wathem, 2010, p. 1) Consular officers also use the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), which stores records of all visa applicants dating back to the mid-1990s. This database allows consular officers to input special notes pertaining to specific applicants and also links with other federal databases to flag problems that may influence the issuance of a visa. (Wasem, 2011, p. 7) Despite seemingly stringent protocol for the issuance of a visa, many believe inherent problems within the system still exist. Seminara (2008) argues that the percentage of nonimmigrant visa requests that are accepted is shockingly high. (p. 1) Despite public perception that visa regulations have tightened since 9/11, obtaining a nonimmigrant visa still remains relatively easy. He looks at the living standards in the home countries of many visa applicants, and notes that the relatively high performance of the United States economy serves as a pull-factor for nonimmigrants to overstay their visas. A table supporting this data can be seen on the next page.
  17. 17. 9 Figure 1: B1/B2 Visitors Visa Issuance Rate Source: (Seminara, 2008, p. 4) Seminara argues that the cause of the high issuance rate of visas and in turn, visa overstays, is largely the fault of consular officers, who tend to have a more diplomatic rather than a law enforcement mindset. Seminara contends that the nature of visa adjudication is highly subjective. Therefore, one consular officer could have an issuance rate of 40 percent for a set of applicants, whereas another officer might have an issuance rate of 60 percent. (Seminara, 2008, p. 5) Thus, the politics, experiences, and history of each visa officer has an unduly large effect on visa issuance rates. Furthermore, with the limited resources of DOS, it is almost impossible to oversee each officer to ensure objectivity and close adherence to protocol. Seminara builds upon this argument by emphasizing the difficulty visa adjudicators have when saying no to applicants. (Seminara, 2008, p. 6) Consular officers interview dozens, if not hundreds of applicants every day, and saying no to an applicant requires a lot more paperwork, confrontation, and emotional investment than saying yes. (Seminara, 2008, p. 6)
  18. 18. 10 Seminara further contends that management in consulates across the globe does not place an emphasis on security measures. Instead, visa adjudicators are assessed on how many applicants they can interview in one day and how courteous they are to their customers. (Seminara, 2008, p. 8) He then notes that very limited validation studies are run at consulates to determine overstay rates, as these studies are time-consuming and managers do not want results to reflect poorly on them. In addition, visas are sometimes used to improve bilateral relations with another country, once again reflecting the tendency of DOS to place diplomatic priorities over security measures. (Seminara, 2008, p. 10) Seminara concludes his argument by looking at policies in the United States that are preventing consular officers from accurately performing their duties. Most notably, the lack of a reliable entry- exit system to track visas in the United States limits consular officers from knowing whether a visa applicant has previously overstayed a visa. Likewise, if a consular officer is suspicious of a given applicant, it can sometimes take weeks to get a response from DHS on previous entry-exit records for the applicant, if they even exist at all. (Seminara, 2008, p. 13) The lack of this system will be touched upon in other sections of this paper. He recommends that visa adjudications be taken away from DOS and instead placed in the hands of law enforcement. This would allow DOS employees to focus on their more important mission of building diplomatic relations with partners around the globe, and would cut needless duplications of work done by both DOS and DHS employees. Hernandez, in his work Visa Diplomacy vs. Visa Security, offers a similar perspective to Seminara. He notes that DOS is responsible for ensuring security while simultaneously facilitating legitimate travel. Like other scholars, he indicates the importance of promoting potential laborers, students and other citizens who could prove advantageous to the competitiveness of the United States economy. And while he emphasizes the importance of diplomacy as necessary for strategic- level security, he argues that security at both the operational and tactical level suffers as a result. (Hernandez, 2013, p. 10) Hernandez argues that post-9/11 policies ultimately only created one department that sets policy (DOS) and one department that is responsible for oversight (DHS). As a result, large gaps have formed between information-sharing and collaboration at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels. (Hernandez, 2013, p. 8) While a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DOS and DHS was signed on September 28, 2003, the then-Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Mura Harty stated “DHS officers assigned visa duties abroad may provide input related to the evaluations of consular officers doing visa work, but the evaluations
  19. 19. 11 themselves will be written by State Department consular supervisors.” (Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, 2003) Hernandez fervently argues that moving the visa issuing function under the control of DHS would mitigate gaps in the US immigration process, while simultaneously would ensure the right balance of security and diplomacy. Making visa issuance security-centric versus diplomacy-centric would protect the lives of American citizens and prevent further attacks similar to 9/11. (Hernandez, 2013, p. 8). 3. Organizational Design Theory The above arguments and criticisms highlight one school of thought on visa security policies and are grounded primarily in the organizational structure of the visa security paradigm. Therefore, it is important to look at ODT. ODT has been extensively studied in relation to the structure and decision-making of government departments and agencies. While there are many schools of thought on ODT, there is a general consensus that much of the design of an organization depends on the decision-making processes within the structures. In Gregory F. Treverton’s (2010) work Addressing “Complexities” in Homeland Security, he applies two criteria to decisions: How fast are they, and how comprehensive are they? (p. 12) Fast decision-making is normally associated with a decentralized organizational structure and fewer hierarchical levels between strategic and tactical levels of decision makers. Priority is placed on reducing the hierarchal structure to promote decision-making at the operational level. Fast decision-making is often suited for highly dynamic environments. By contrast, if decision-making follows the comprehensive path, a hierarchical structure should be maintained. By preserving the hierarchy, this organizational design ensures that information is thoroughly processed and vetted at all levels. However, these systems should also implement mechanisms that can rapidly process and use new information as it is acquired. (Treverton G. F., 2010, p. 12) In a complex environment, organizations need to implement a decision-making process that is both fast and comprehensive. Treverton (2010) uses the example of the homeland security intelligence enterprise, which requires partners, competitors, and stakeholders of varying points of view and in different geographical locations to synergize their perspectives in order to effectively make decisions. (p. 14) To successfully implement this process, vertical specialization of hierarchy should be maintained, while decision-making should
  20. 20. 12 be decentralized in order to keep decision speed high and at the operational level. (Treverton G. F., 2010, p. 13) A table depicting the different organizational designs can be seen below. Figure 2: Operating Environments, Decision Requirements and Design Considerations Source: (Treverton G. F., 2010, p. 14) The nature of the process for visa security policies and visa overstays fits most soundly in the high complexity/fast and comprehensive category. However, the challenge the U.S. government faces in this respect is implementing the correct mechanisms to facilitate effective visa security policies in a highly complex environment. 4. Systems Thinking, Complexity Theory, and Complex Adaptive Systems Government bureaucracies and departments function in a non-linear, complex manner. Essential to the complexity of government bureaucracies is effective communication at both the intra- and inter-agency level. Literature on systems thinking, complexity theory and complex adaptive systems (CAS) can be used to explain these functions and can also be applied to the framework of visa security policy. The methods of systems thinking help both private and public institutions understand management, communication, and complexity problems. This approach has been developed for over thirty years and looks at organizations not as a series of events and their causes, but rather as a system comprised of interacting parts. (Kirkwood, 1998, p. 1) Kirkwood (1998) describes a
  21. 21. 13 system as an interdependent group of items or units that form a cohesive pattern. (p. 1) However, rather than look at the system as a series of events (i.e. event A leads to event B), one must instead look at the internal structure of the system. Likewise, with a systems thinking approach, the internal structure of the organization, rather than external events, is seen as the root cause for the majority of problems. In short, systems tend to produce their own behavior. Kirkwood argues that by observing and determining a pattern of behavior within a system, one can look for the system structure that was the ultimate cause of a given problem. (p. 3) In addition, it is possible to permanently eliminate a pattern of behavior by modifying the system structure. Donella Meadows added to the discussion on systems in her work Thinking in Systems. She maintains that all systems must contain the following three components: elements, interconnections, and a function/purpose. (Meadows, 2008, p. 11) The elements of the system are the actors and the interconnections are the relationships that hold the elements together. (Meadows, 2008, p. 13) Functions are not as easily defined, but this can sometimes be deduced by examining an organization’s strategy or mission statement. These three components will be examined in depth throughout the research in this paper. In order to understand the above systems, one must first understand the concept of complexity. Complexity is not very easy to define and can mean different things in different situations. In his work Simple Complexity – A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory, Neil Johnson defines complexity by using the common phrase “Two’s company, three is a crowd.” (Johnson, 2007, p. 3) In other words, complexity can be defined as the study of the phenomena which come about from a collection of objects that interact with one another. (Johnson, 2007, pp. 3-4) In their work Understanding the Non-Linear Event: A Framework for Complex Systems Analysis, Sarah Miller Beebe and George S. Beebe go on to describe complexity science as what happens when a group of objects (factors/agents) interacts (dynamism). (Beebe & Beebe, 2012, p. 510) In addition, these systems usually arise in the absence of any kind of “invisible hand” or controlling unit. In other words, a complex system usually is self-generating and lacks a singular point of contact that controls the interactions. (Johnson, 2007, p. 13) Complexity is used to explain the behavior of a myriad of factors in order to anticipate emergent phenomena (non-linear outcomes) in a number of different realms. (Beebe & Beebe, 2012, p. 501) Likewise, Treverton (2010) describes complexity as a “wicked” problem that should be tackled through organizational and procedural “sense-making and “mindfulness.” (p. 7) The notion of wicked problems first appeared in urban planning in Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber’s work Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning.
  22. 22. 14 Wicked problems are juxtaposed to “tame” problems. A tame problem is normally comprised of the following criteria:  Has a relatively well-defined and stable problem statement.  Has a definite stopping point, that is, we know when a solution is reached.  Has a solution which can be objectively evaluated as being right or wrong.  Belongs to a class of similar problems which can be solved in a similar manner.  Has solutions which can be tried and abandoned.  Comes with a limited set of alternative solutions. (Treverton, 2008, p. 8) In comparison, a wicked problem has the following symptoms:  The problem isn’t understood until a solution has been developed.  Wicked problems have no stopping rule.  Solutions to wicked problems are not right or wrong.  Every wicked problem is essentially unique and novel.  Every solution to a wicked problem is a ‘one shot operation.’  Wicked problems have no given alternative solutions. (Conklin, 2005, pp. 7-8) In short, it is impossible to look at wicked problems with a linear purview as each component of a wicked problem has a complicated, compounding effect on the system. From the concept of a wicked problem, Joseph Conklin derives the notion of fragmentation. Fragmentation suggests a condition in which stakeholders see themselves as more separate than united, and in which information and knowledge-sharing is both chaotic and disjointed. (Conklin, 2005, p. 13) Fragmentation is caused by a combination of a wicked problems and social complexity. In social complexity the number of players involved in a project complicates the situation. The more parties involved in a collaboration, the more socially complex the issue is, (Conklin, 2005, p. 13) making effective communication extremely difficult. Conklin uses an example in which multiple government agencies struggle over the mission statement simply due to a terminology difference: each agency has its own term for a core concept, and by choosing one term over the other, one of the agencies would be disenfranchised. (Conklin, 2005, p. 14) Conklin argues that by excluding certain stakeholders from the decision-making process in complex projects, members of the social
  23. 23. 15 network may try to undermine or even sabotage the project. (Conklin, 2005, p. 3) This model aptly reflects the competition seen between DHS and DOS. Complexity theory has most recently been complemented by and merged with complex adaptive systems (CAS). A CAS contains the following elements: a large number of independent elements; high levels of interdependence and levels of connectivity; diffuse arbitrary boundaries; dynamic emergence; and non-predictability. Finley, in his work Communications and Strategy Development, uses the example of the security structure of international relations to highlight a CAS. Over time, the collection of sovereign nations on earth have produced a myriad of organizations and processes to improve overall prosperity and limit the negative consequences of divergent interests. While various states and agents have exercised leadership over parts of the development of the international system, no single nation or organization has ever had absolute control. (Finley, 2008, p. 2) The combination of the elements within the CAS leads to the creation of feedback loops. These feedback loops are also referred to as causal loops. A feedback loop is “a closed sequence of causes and effects, that is, a closed path of action and information.” (Richardson & Pugh, 1981, p. 7) What one agent within a feedback loop does will have compounding effects on other agents within the loop and in turn their decision-making processes. There are two types of feedback loops: positive (reinforcing) and negative (balancing) loops. Positive loops reinforce change within a system with even more change. This type of loop results in exponential growth, as there is no counterbalance to the loop. An example of a reinforcing loop is depicted below. Figure 3: System Structure Source: (Kirkwood, 1998, p. 9)
  24. 24. 16 In his work System Dynamics Methods: A Quick Introduction, Craig W. Kirkwood uses a simple example of a bank balance to introduce readers to the idea of a reinforcing system. In short, the more money one stores in the bank, the more interest the money accrues. The interest accrued in turn increases the holdings in the bank, which leads to more interest. This is an example of exponential growth. Without a counterbalance, the bank balance will continue to grow indefinitely. Such a system can easily be applied to the visa security system and the rate of visa overstays in the United States. Negative loops seek a goal. If the current level of the variable being studied is above the goal, then the loop framework will push the value down, and vice versa. Negative loops can be useful in providing stability, but they can also add to the tendency for organizations to resist change. (Kirkwood, 1998, p. 10) Kirkwood argues that many government agencies and departments face external environments that require the organization to change, but continue on with the same behavior. While on paper these loops might appear rather simple, in the real world they can be very complex. Real world loops often involve multiple agents, and significant time delays in observing the effects of a given action, making it very difficult to determine causes and effects in a system. (Finley, 2008, p. 3) Therefore, in a linear system it is relatively easy to affect system behavior, but in a CAS, the changes that policymakers introduce to a given system often result in the opposite of the intended effect. Furthermore, as a result of the complications found within CAS, it can be argued that many problems organizations face are not a result of external forces, but rather a product of their very own policies. The real world of security policy involves multiple agents, along with time delays and gaps in communication between agencies. This model will be very useful when examining the causal loops found within and between the government agencies responsible for oversight and implementation of visa security policies. 5. Strategy Development Using CAS Effective strategy development is important for a CAS. While there are countless works and theories on strategy development, more recent thinking has begun to shift towards looking at strategy as less of a semi-rigid path towards an end goal, and more as an ever-changing set of
  25. 25. 17 guidelines for policies aimed at positively influencing the behavior of a complex adaptive system. (Finley, 2008, p. 3) Strategy formulation should not follow a linear development of “observe, orient, decide, act”, but rather should be part of a process of simultaneous actions that include the following processes: formulation and socialization; execution and modification; and strategy exploitation. (Finley, 2008, p. 3) Integral to each level of strategy development is effective communication. According to Finley, because there is no focal point within a CAS, deciding where to place focus is critical to strategy formulation. Understanding the structure of the system and how to approach the system are both equally important when determining its focus. Approaching the system depends on the perspective of an organization, or how the organization chooses to “frame” the situation. Finley uses the example of the “North Korean Problem”, which can be viewed from a number of perspectives: human rights issue, political or economic development issue, a nuclear proliferation issue, and so on. (Finley, 2008, p. 4) “Framing” the issue is very important for the development of visa security policies, as the choice of the preferred frame is often contingent on who, or what institution, is doing the assessment. A mathematician will most likely choose a mathematical frame; a politician, a political frame, etc. Therefore, when looking at the conflation of frames within the visa security network, there are more than likely going to be areas of disagreement. Thus, finding a dominant, or common, frame among the majority of the key stakeholders within a system is very important. Once again, effective communication is imperative for this. In addition, the way an issue is framed shapes what is considered to be a plausible solution to a problem. (Finley, 2008, p. 4) Using the example of North Korea again, Finley notes that if the problem were to be framed as an economic development problem, economic sanctions would be considered counter-productive. It follows that by using framing in strategy formulation, it is essential to have a collective vision and interests. 6. Whole of Government Planning In order to successfully formulate and implement a strategy, it is necessary to properly execute a whole of government (WoG) approach. National security throughout most of the 20th century has focused primarily on military affairs. However, Daniel S. Papp writes in his work The
  26. 26. 18 Whole of Government Approach to Security, and Beyond that the 21st century has ushered in a more comprehensive way of approaching national security that goes beyond dangers posed by traditional causes of war. (Papp, 2012, p. viii) This WoG approach recognizes that security, political, economic, cultural, and social spheres are highly interdependent and significant cooperation between spheres is necessary in order to properly execute missions and strategies. (Franke & Dorff, 2012, p. 2) Frank and Dorff note that while the WoG approach has been lauded by many academics, policy observers, and military experts, there are nonetheless critics who believe the WoG approach does not work due to lack of sufficient funding and personnel, competition between agencies, cultural differences, and unclear mission objectives. (Franke & Dorff, 2012, p. 5) Habeck (2012) goes on to support this argument by noting that while the WoG approach is an ideal situation, there is often a lack of necessary desire for reform and sponsors who would be able to implement it. (p. 86) As the visa security system involves multiple agencies, missions, and strategies, the effects of a WoG approach on the system will be examined during the research. 7. Conclusion The literature highlights the lack of collaboration and coordination preventing the formation of an effective visa security policy framework to prevent the rate of visa overstays currently seen in the United States. Much of this is due to the complexity of the system in place for the oversight of visa policies. Political will to transform this system to a more streamlined framework notwithstanding, actual operational capacity versus desired operational capacity still varies greatly. The works examined in the literature review introduced many of the important concepts that show the difficulties both governments and private entities face when undergoing organizational restructuring. Visa security policies need to be examined through a systems behavior lens, which is intrinsically related to both complexity theory and CAS. Important to remember in all of the aforementioned frameworks is that making a change in the system can have lasting and compounding effects. Therefore, it is important to approach a system with caution and thorough evaluation. The nature of the visa security institution in the United States has undergone many changes in the last fourteen years, but by approaching the system from a WoG perspective, policy and processes might be improved to provide a more effective paradigm. However, implementing
  27. 27. 19 such a framework is often easier said than done. The following sections will further build upon the framework developed in the Literature Review in order to delve deeper into this issue and offer a better understanding of the problem.
  28. 28. 20 II. FRAMEWORK OF THE VISA SECURITY SYSTEM This chapter introduces the departments and agencies that have the most impact on visa security policies: DHS, DOS and the Department of Justice (DOJ). By approaching these departments and agencies from a systems perspective, the shape of the system will be acknowledged and in turn suggestions can be made for improvements. Following an introduction to each of the departments and agencies, there will also be an overview of the evolution in visa security policies since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, as these have been the most transformative in the history of visa security. Both CAS and a systems analysis should be used to evaluate the visa security paradigm. In order to effectively complete this evaluation, borders must be drawn around each element in the system. The high level of interconnectedness in the visa security system makes this difficult to accomplish. For the scope of this paper, borders will be defined around the individual federal departments: DHS, DOS, and DOJ. In addition, other public and private actors who have a stake in the system will be examined. As previously mentioned, a system contains three key components: elements, interconnections, and a function/purpose. This chapter will look at the first two components – elements and interconnections. The following chapter will then look at the purpose and function of each element and give a detailed analysis on the effectiveness of each function. A. Elements 1. Federal Agencies A federal agency is a division within the government specifically assigned to serve under the legislative, executive, or judicial branch of the U.S. government. This paper will examine the agencies responsible for national security, and more specifically visa security. A. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under current law, two departments – DOS and DHS – are responsible for the admission into and monitoring of aliens in the United States. DHS’s U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services
  29. 29. 21 (USCIS) is responsible for approving immigrant petitions. DHS’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) oversees the inspection all individuals who enter the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the lead agency tasked with enforcing immigration law in the interior of the United States. DHS consists of 22 agencies and employs over 250,000 employees. For an organizational chart of the department, see Appendix 2. With so many agencies and employees, it follows that the organization is highly complex and employs many methods of intra- agency communication. 1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) USCIS is responsible for administering green card applications, U.S. citizenship, and applications for extensions and changes of temporary visa status. The purpose of the agency is to provide accurate and useful information to immigrants, grant immigration and citizenship benefits, and ensure the integrity of the immigration system. 2. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) CBP is the primary law enforcement branch of DHS. It is responsible for regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including customs, trade, and immigration. (Shusterman, 2016) While CBP focuses its main efforts on preventing the spread of terrorism and deterring terrorists from entering the country, it also plays a pivotal role in preventing immigrants from entering the country illegally. There are 329 official POEs in the United States, and all foreign nationals must provide CBP officers with a valid visa and/or passport upon entry into the country. (Wasem, 2014) 3. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ICE is primarily responsible for the intelligence and investigative functions of DHS. The mission of the department is to protect national security, public safety, and the integrity of U.S. borders through civil and criminal enforcement of federal laws governing customs, immigration, and trade. (Shusterman, 2016) A subcomponent of ICE is the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit. HSI is a critical investigative arm of DHS and it oversees the departments work in visa security. Part of this process
  30. 30. 22 is the Visa Security Program (VSP), which deploys special agents with immigration law enforcement expertise to diplomatic posts worldwide to carry out visa security activities. These activities include, but are not limited to: examining visa applications for fraud; initiating investigations; coordinating with other law enforcement officers; and providing law enforcement training and advice to DOS consulate employees. B. Department of State (DOS) DOS is the federal department responsible for both international relations and the implementation of foreign policy of the United States. The mission of DOS is to “shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.” (U.S. Department of State, 2016) The bureau within the Department of State responsible for visa services is CA. Employees in the Office of Visa Services in CA carry out the following functions: 1) serve as liaisons with DHS; 2) serve as liaisons between DOS and U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad on visa matters; 3) interpret visa laws and regulations; and 4) act as a point of contact for the public. (U.S. Department of State, 2016) There are five pillars of visa security that DOS adheres to in order to ensure visa security: innovations, technological advances, personal interviews, data sharing, and training. (Donahue, 2016, p. 1) Consular officers are responsible for facilitating legitimate travel while simultaneously preventing ineligible aliens from entering the United States. CA has the sole legal authority to adjudicate visa applications. (Roth, 2014, p. 5) C. Department of Justice (DOJ) DOJ is the federal department responsible for the following: enforcing the law and defending the interests of the U.S. according to the law; ensuring the safety of the public from foreign and domestic threats; providing leadership in controlling crime; seeking punishment for those guilty of crimes; and ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all U.S. citizens. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2016) DOJ’s role in visa security policy is executed by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). This office administers judicial issues on immigration decisions made by DHS or appeals made by immigrants or foreign national criminals. (Hernandez, 2013, p. 5) More specifically, EOIR conducts immigration court proceedings, administrative hearings, and appellate reviews. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2016)
  31. 31. 23 2. Political Elements Other elements apart from federal agencies play a role in the development of visa security policies. Given the debated nature of visa security policies, the majority of these elements are political in nature. A. Legislative Congress is responsible for creating the laws that govern visa security policies and the agencies tasked with their enforcement. Furthermore, various committees, such as the Committee on Homeland Security, are responsible for oversight of programs and agencies to ensure they are functioning properly. DHS is a prime example of the role Congress plays, as this department was created by Congress in response to security deficiencies in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an integral arm of Congress, charged with the auditing and evaluating of Government programs and activities. B. Executive As prescribed in the Constitution, the executive branch is responsible for the execution of law. The president is in charge of the executive branch, and consults with the heads of departments in order to coordinate policy and accomplish goals. The executive office is responsible for drafting the NSS, which outlines the major national security concerns of the United States and how the given administration plans to tackle these problems. In theory, visa security policies should fall in line with the overall framework and objectives of the NSS. 3. Private Elements Players and stakeholders in the private realm can also play influential roles in the field of visa security. As the government continues its trend to outsource capabilities, the role the private sector plays in almost all facets of government activities will continue to expand.
  32. 32. 24 A. Airlines In accordance with the code of federal regulations, all airline carriers, both foreign and domestic, are responsible for providing CBP with a passenger and crew manifest. This manifest must be electronically transmitted to CBP prior to the departure from the last foreign port or place. The travel itinerary for each passenger and crew member needs to be included in this manifest. Of particular importance is whether a passenger is transiting through the United States or if the United States is the end destination. The manifests provided by private airlines are crucial for tracking nonimmigrant aliens and whether or not they overstay the allotted time on their visas. For departing travelers, both air and sea carriers are also required to provide biographic manifest data for all passengers and crew members before departing the United States. By law, carriers are required to provide certain data, including names and passport numbers, and will be fined if they fail to produce the given data. This data is then matched again biographic material collected from individuals arriving in the country to determine whether or not there are visa overstays amongst the manifests. CBP maintains a system to monitor this. B. Dynamism/Interconnections Dynamism refers to the interconnectivity within a complex system. This interconnectivity frames the interactions between agents and holds them together. Interactions between agents arise because agents are physically close together, because they might be members of the same group, or because there is information-sharing between the agents. (Johnson, 2007, p. 13) Once agents begin to interact with one another, either intentionally or unintentionally, they form a network. This network tells us who is connected to whom, and in turn who is interacting with whom. (Johnson, 2007, pp. 97-98) Furthermore, these interactions can be viewed as either formal or informal. A formal interaction is expressed through stated procedures and processes. On the contrary, informal interactions, which arise from unstated cultures, values, and independent personalities, often circumvent and destabilize the formal processes. (Meadows, 2008, p. 13) The agents within the visa security network are highly interconnected and complex. Even the website that explain visa processes states “defining the different roles and responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State can be confusing.” (U.S.
  33. 33. 25 Department of State, 2016) The following section will explain the dynamism within the visa security network and how the federal agencies work together to ensure visa security by highlighting some of the cooperative programs. 1. The Visa Security Program (VSP) VSP is considered by DHS to be the first line of defense in the visa process against terrorists and criminal organizations. VSP is currently operating in 28 high-risk locations in 20 countries. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 established DHS responsibility for visa policy. Specifically, it established that DHS agents overseas should: 1) provide training to consular officers; 2) review visa applications at the request of either DHS agents or consular officers; and 3) conduct investigations with respect to consular matters. VSP is located within the HSI directorate and is divided between International Operations (IO) and the National Security Investigations Division. See Appendix 3 for details of the structure. VSP agents work with DOS officers on a daily basis to screen and vet visa applicants and in 2012 VSP special agents screened over 1.3 million visa applicants. DHS uses the Visa Security Program Tracking System-Network (VSPTS-Net) to identify applicants for U.S. visas who are ineligible to enter the United States due to terrorism associations, criminal history, or other security-related reasons. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2013, p. 2) This information is shared between both ICE and CBP agents. In addition, DHS and DOS work together on a regular basis to expand the VSP program to additional overseas locations or initiate new visa security policies. (Roth, 2014, p. 5) 2. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) was established in 1986 to facilitate the legitimate travel for business and tourist visitors to the United States. (United States Government Accountability Office, 2016, p. 1) This program allows citizens from certain countries - for example, France, Germany, and Hungary - to travel to the country for business, tourism, or other reasons for 90 days without having to obtain a visa. As of 2016 there are 38 countries participating in VWP. Both DHS and DOS work with host countries to enhance bilateral cooperation on critical counterterrorism and information-sharing initiatives, expand tourism to the United States, and support business opportunities in the United States. In response to increased security threats around the globe, the program now also requires VWP countries to enter into bilateral agreements with the United States
  34. 34. 26 to report information about the theft or loss of passports, establish enhanced law enforcement cooperation, share watch list information pertaining to known or suspected terrorists, and to share information on the criminal history of VWP applicants. This program allows DOS to allocate more resources to posts in countries with higher-risk applicant pools. In FY 2013, there were nearly 20 million traveler admissions to the United States under the VWP. (United States Government Accountability Office, 2016, p. 4)This program requires significant information-sharing not only between DHS and DOS, but also between the United States and the VWP country. 3. Biometric Collection Fingerprint scans are collected from nearly all visa applicants by consular officers. These fingerprints are screened against two databases: 1) DHS’ IDENT database, which contains biometric information for wanted persons, suspected terrorists, and previous immigration violators; and 2) the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, which maintains more than 75.5 million criminal history records. In conjunction with fingerprints, all visa photos are also screened against a facebook of photos of known or suspected terrorists from the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). (Donahue, 2016, pp. 2-3) 4. Training In order to facilitate information-sharing and mitigate duplication of efforts, ICE and DOS undertake collaborative training and orientation before deploying overseas. Furthermore, ICE and DOS personnel work together in meetings, trainings, briefings, and working groups. In addition, ICE and DOS employees work together to identify embassies for potential expansion of the VSP. When establishing a Visa Security Unit (VSU) at an overseas post, ICE agents also work closely with consular officials to determine how to integrate VSU activities into the visa application cycles while simultaneously minimizing their effect on visa issuance procedures. (Roth, 2014, p. 7) When stationed at an overseas consulate, ICE agents are required under Section 428(e)(2)(A) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide training to consular officers in regard to specific security threats relating to the adjudication of visa applicants. This training includes briefings on terrorist groups that might pose a threat to homeland security, interview techniques used to detect
  35. 35. 27 persons who may be a threat, intelligence gathering, and other general law enforcement topics. (Roth, 2014, p. 15) 5. Pre-Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team Initiative (PATRIOT) The PATRIOT program is used to conduct automated screenings of visa application information against other DHS holdings, as well as records kept by other U.S. agencies, prior to the applicant’s interview at U.S. Consulates participating in the VSP program. This robust vetting process determines whether an applicant has prior derogatory information or has previously been barred from receiving a U.S. visa. The PATRIOT program highlights the interconnectedness within the visa security sector, as it uses interagency resources from ICE, CBP, DOS, and other members of the intelligence community when conducting analysis. (Saldana, 2016, p. 4) 6. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) In January 2011, ICE signed an MOU outlining responsibilities, roles, and collaboration between CA, ICE, and DOS’s Diplomatic Security (DS). (Saldana, 2016, p. 6) The MOU also details certain procedures, including the ability for the consular chief to ask VSP to expedite certain cases, and that VSP agents can request cases to be put on hold for additional investigation. This MOU builds upon the 2003 joint DHS-DOS MOU and a 2008 cable released by DOS. The 2008 cable and 2003 MOU directed VSP posts to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) for a number of areas, such as chain of command, specific coordination procedures between ICE agents and consular officers at post, and dispute resolution practices. (United States Government Accountability Office, 2011) 7. Overstay Enforcement In order to prevent visa overstays, ICE analyzes system-generated leads matched against biographical entry and exit records stored in CBP’s Arrival and Departure Information System (ADIS). The ADIS system supports the ability of DHS to identify nonimmigrants who have remained past their planned date of departure from the United States and are in violation of the conditions of their visas. (Saldana, 2016, p. 7) After it has been determined if an individual has
  36. 36. 28 overstayed a visa, an investigation is then made, in cooperation with other agencies, to determine whether the individual has adjusted their visa to a lawful status or if enforcement action should be taken. HSI’s Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit (CTCEU) is responsible for the investigation of nonimmigrant visa violators who might be a threat to national security. CTCEU analyzes data from a number of interagency systems, including ADIS and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). (Saldana, 2016, p. 7) SEVIS is a program run by ICE that monitors all students and exchange visitors traveling to the U.S. on F, M or J visas. C. Conclusion It is very clear that elements and interconnections within the visa security paradigm are very complex. As a result of this complexity, it is difficult to determine which department or agency should take the lead on certain issues. Not only are there three different departments responsible for visa security oversight, these are further complicated by a multitude of agencies within each department. The figure below illustrates the various agencies, departments, and systems that are in constant communication over immigration issues. As illustrated, information-sharing between agencies is inevitably complex with so many overlapping responsibilities. Figure 4: Departmental Interconnections in the Visa Security System EOIR CBP USCIS ICE TSA Consular Affairs Diplomatic Security VSP MOU CTCEU SEVIS TECS IDENT ADIS IDENT ADIS
  37. 37. 29 III. Visa Security – A Look at the History This chapter looks at the development of visa security policies in order to determine patterns that have shaped the system as we see it today. In this case, the system we are examining is the visa security network and the actors/elements and interconnections that comprise the system. Meadows notes that the best way to determine a system’s purpose is to observe the system for an allotted period of time to see how the system behaves. (Meadows, 2008, p. 14) As the visa security system was dramatically changed in response to the 9/11 attacks, most of this section will look at visa security policies implemented after the terrorist attacks. The objective of this section is to determine the purpose and priorities of the visa system, keeping in mind that these priorities are ever-changing and are largely affected by elements both within and outside the system. A. Visa Security Policies Before 9/11 Prior to 9/11, DOS was nearly exclusively responsible for the issuance of visas and the security that corresponded with these processes. After World War II, administration of visas was placed under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs. As the name indicates, the government agency was responsible for both consular and security functions. (Hernandez, 2013, p. 1) Given the Cold War climate, emphasis was placed on identifying potential spies and communist party members applying for visas. In the 1980s, with the development of détente politics, the security function was officially separated from consular operations in order to promote travel to the United States. (Hernandez, 2013, p. 1) While the 1993 World Trade Center Attacks highlighted the vulnerabilities of the pre-9/11 visa processes, priority remained on making the travel process as easy as possible as visa waiting lines continued to grow across the globe. Consular officers began to feel the political pressures as ambassadors began to notice the long waiting lines, and the visa function transformed from a security screen to a service. (Tkacik, 2002) The streamlining of the visa process was not only implemented to facilitate travel to the United States, it also had a number of underling policy objectives. Managing visa flows with an open mind highlighted the U.S. commitment to nondiscrimination, delivered enormous economic benefits, and also exposed foreign nationals to American society. Through this exposure,
  38. 38. 30 policymakers hoped to mitigate proclivity for terrorism by lessening anger directed at the United States by foreigners. The issuance of visas falls under the heading of “public diplomacy”; one of the main priorities of DOS that seeks to promote the national interest of the United States through informing, influencing, and understanding foreign audiences. (Department of State, 2016) While strong public diplomacy ties and the relative access of another country’s citizens to the United States highlight the strength of a bilateral relationship, this relationship can also be exploited. Prior to 2001, Saudi Arabia was one of the United States’ closest allies. Saudi Arabia enjoyed a “visa express” program, which allowed visa applicants to submit their visa applications through pre- approved travel agents without having to visit a consulate. All but two of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks were Saudi. (Yale-Loehr, 2005) Hani Hanjour, the pilot of the plane flown into the Pentagon, entered the United States on a student visa from Saudi Arabia. During interviews with consular officers, he claimed he would be attending an English language program in Oakland, but never attended the program upon his arrival in the United States. Despite violating the terms of his visa, and a speeding ticket received a month after his arrival, law enforcement agencies never had him on their radar. This case and numerous other cases highlight that by placing too much emphasis on diplomacy, security measures at both the tactical and operational level were insufficient, allowing terrorists to exploit this weakness. (Hernandez, 2013) B. Visa Security Policies After 9/11 A reexamination of immigration laws and controls was inevitable in the wake of 9/11. The U.S. government overhauled the entire visa system in order to place more emphasis on security measures. Post-September 11 changes to visa policies and regulations have primarily followed two simultaneous objectives: a change in the priorities and goals of visa issuance to focus more on security, and a corresponding push to reform visa procedures to achieve these goals. (Yale-Loeher, 2005) Since early 2003, both DOS and DHS are responsible for visa policy in the United States. These policies are defined in the INA, and while the details of this act are expansive, this section will highlight the components of the act relevant for the paper.  The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) was signed on October 26, 2001. The PATRIOT Act authorized additional funding for a foreign student tracking system as well
  39. 39. 31 as moved up the deadline for countries participating in the VWP to have passengers submit machine-readable passports. (Hernandez, 2013) Two of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks changed their visa statuses to become students after entering the country. Also important to this paper is Subtitle B of the PATRIOT Act. This contains enhanced provisions to boost law enforcement’s ability to prevent suspected terrorists from entering the United States. The provision specifically calls for the need to expedite implementation of an integrated entry and exit data system for all airports, seaports, and land border POEs. Furthermore, emphasis was placed on technical developments, with the act calling for the implantation of biometric technology and tamper-resistant documents readable at ports of entry. (United States Senate, 2001, p. 216)  The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act (EBSVERA) signed on May 14, 2002 by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress, required consular officers to send electronic versions of visas to INS as well as immigration officers at POEs in the United States. The Act also required INS to make interoperable all of its internal databases, ensuring that all information pertaining to a particular alien could be accessed in a single search. In addition, the act necessitated biometric indicators for passports by 2004. Finally, EBSVERA required all commercial vessels and aircraft that transport people to a U.S. airport or seaport from outside the United States to provide border officers with a manifest containing information on each passenger and crew member being transported. (Jenks, 2002)  The Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act was signed on December 17, 2004. This act enforced the required visa interview process at all consulates around the globe, and also allocated more resources to DOS to hire more consular officers. Face-to-face interviews with all visa applicants, apart from diplomats and certain individuals working for specific international organizations, is now standard protocol enforced by DOS. It was necessary to increase the manpower at consulates in light of the more stringent interview processes.  The United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program was implemented and created a nation-wide entry-exit reporting system that
  40. 40. 32 requires specific foreign travelers to the United States to provide photographs and fingerprints to customs agents at the borders. The ultimate goal of the US-VISIT program was to “deploy end-to-end management of processes and data on foreign nationals to the United States covering their interactions with U.S. officials before they enter, when they enter, while they are in the United States, and when they exit.” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2003) In short, the program mandated biometrics for many foreigners traveling to the United States on both temporary and long-term visas. The US-VISIT program has since been replaced with the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), whose mission is to “help federal, state and local government decision makers accurately identify the people they encounter and determine whether these people pose a risk to the United States.” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2016)  As part of CBP’s pre-departure strategy, CBP’s National Targeting Center (NTC) continuously vets and analyzes passenger information, which includes visas and VWP ESTA authorizations. NTC also conducts vetting of nonimmigrant U.S. visas and ESTA authorizations that have been revoked, issued, and/or denied.  Another aspect of visas investigated by the U.S. government in the post-9/11 environment was transit visas. Prior to September 11, transit passengers partook in the Transit without Visa (TWOV) and International to International (ITI) programs. While these programs required passengers to undergo inspections at the border, they did not require passengers to obtain a visa before entering the country. All passengers who would normally need a visa to enter the country must now also obtain visas if they plan on transiting through the United States.  The last form of security scrutiny a visa applicant has to undergo is performed by CBP at United States POEs. This inspection consists of an interview with a CBP inspector, a check of the traveler’s documents, and a brief query in various law enforcement databases. (Hernandez, 2013, p. 4) If a traveler appears suspicious for any given reason, they will then be referred to a secondary inspection. This system complements the previous work
  41. 41. 33 performed by DOS. The figure below shows a simplified version of the immigration process. Figure 5: Visa Application Process Source: (Hernandez, 2013, p. 4)  Finally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) also plays a role in the visa process through immigration review. (Hernandez, 2013) The DOJ plays a very limited role in dealing with appeals by immigrants and foreign national criminals. The above section highlights the evolution of the perception of immigration and visa security. Prior to 9/11, immigration was primarily seen as a matter of economics, whereby easing the process for both nonimmigrants and immigrants to enter the country resulted in an increase in economic activity in the United States. Furthermore, immigration was used as a tool for public diplomacy by improving foreign audiences’ image of the United States. After 9/11, immigration began to be viewed as a matter of national security and resulted in a bureaucratic restructuring of the system. One of the main priorities of the post-9/11 visa security reforms was to implement more efficient ways to track and prevent visa overstays in the United States. These reforms as of 2016, however, have not been fully implemented.
  42. 42. 34 IV – Analysis – Examining the System This chapter examines today’s visa security paradigm through the lens of a complex system. The ultimate goal is to examine whether the elements and interconnections of the visa security system examined in chapter II are working well together to achieve objectives. This analysis will also highlight the purpose of each element in the visa security system. In the wake of 9/11, Congress created new security institutions and integrated these institutions into the already-existing visa security framework. The expansion of this framework into an even more complex paradigm created a system in which diffuse agents with differing goals often compete against one another. Meadows classifies this phenomenon as an escalation trap. Mentioned earlier in the paper, escalation is a form of a feedback loop. More specifically, it is a reinforcing feedback loop. In the case of visa security, escalation occurs when separate agencies (DHS, DOS, and DOJ) compete against one another for power, funding, authority, etc. Escalation not only results in a reinforcing loop of conflicting priorities, but it can also lead to the creation of even more departments and agencies, prohibiting effective cooperation and coordination. Each department and agency has its own strategy (both implicit and explicit), culture, and objectives that inhibit the formulation of a coherent system. This chapter is broken down into two sections to evaluate system effectiveness: 1) Preventing Visa Overstays and 2) Tracking Visa Overstays. A. Preventing Visa Overstays 1. Strategy Formulation The analysis starts by taking a look at the goals –or the purpose– of the visa security system. The NSS and strategies of both DHS and DOS are examined, as these seminal documents reflect explicit plans of action to achieve a major or overall goal. Meadows notes that even people within systems don’t always recognize the whole-system goal they are trying to achieve. Notionally, there should also be larger, less obvious, higher-leverage goals that the entire system is trying to achieve. Since 1986, it has been a requirement for U.S. Presidents to submit a biannual NSS written by the National Security Council (NSC). During the Cold War era, this strategy primarily focused on deterrence. While overall strategic objectives looked at deterrence, in the run-up to 9/11 there was no government-wide procedure, organization, or leadership to direct strategic planning across
  43. 43. 35 agency lines. (Habeck, 2012, p. 70) In the post-9/11 era, transnational terrorism has become a focal point of national security, with “border security” playing a very important role in preventing the spread of terrorism throughout the world. In the Bush administration’s 2002 NSS, the report placed explicit emphasis on preventing and combatting terrorism before it reached America’s borders. (The White House, 2002, p. 6) Deterrence was no longer relevant in the face of seemingly less risk-adverse foes. Along with a change in the priorities of the NSS in the aftermath of 9/11, a number of other public strategies stating the missions and goals of varying agencies were also publicized. These documents not only state the goals and missions of the individual agencies, they also state how these will be achieved, and how the agency’s goals will advance the overall national security strategy. The table below shows just a small selection of the surfeit of strategies currently existing in the United States. Figure 6: Sample of U.S. Government Strategies Source: (Doyle, 2007) The assumption is that all of the strategies listed above, represent a singular strategic template. Yet, there is no common definition for planning across all levels of the U.S. government, making it difficult to coordinate and implement diverse plans into an overarching strategy that every agency would adhere to. (Habeck, 2012, p. 67) The various agencies that make up the U.S. government often believe they are communicating the same message, but in fact, are talking about
  44. 44. 36 very different things. In the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), which suffered from coordination and communication mishaps, the administration took steps to improve coordination between the Department of Defense (DOD) and DOS, creating incentives for interagency cooperation, and establishing frameworks for the planning of joint operations. (Habeck, 2012, p. 68) While successful to some extent, other national security operations also require interagency planning and cooperation. Furthermore, these strategies merely portray the explicit values of the given agencies, with implicit strategies often straying from what is stated on paper. Building on themes developed by both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the NSS published in May of 2010 was the first strategy to explicitly incorporate a WoG approach. (Dunlap, 2012, p. 185) The most current NSS, released by the Obama administration in 2015, lists four strategic policy areas under which supplementary objectives are formulated. These four policy areas are: security, prosperity, value, and international order. The security policy includes a section on homeland security. The foremost priority of homeland security is to protect the American people. In order to do so the country must guard against terrorism, as well as other hazards and threats, through information-sharing, border and aviation security, and international cooperation. (The White House, 2015, p. 8) The strategy emphasizes preventative security measures, but also conflates security with economic objectives through its commitment to travel, commerce, and tourism. (The White House, 2015, p. 8) As such, the Obama administration seeks to find the strategic balance between protecting the lives and civil liberties of its citizens through measures such as border control, while concurrently fostering the image of the United States as a country open to foreign investment, tourism, and travel. The Obama administration has touted WoG management since 2011, but one must take a look at the individual strategies of both DOS and DHS to see if their explicit strategies coincide with this WoG vision. A. DHS Strategy DHS released a Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2014-2018 in 2013. Bear in mind that different agencies within DHS - ICE, CBP, Coast Guard, USCIS, etc. - also have their own strategies, but for the purpose of the scope of this paper, only DHS’s strategy will be examined. The plan highlights the five-mission structure of DHS:
  45. 45. 37  Prevent terrorism and enhance security  Secure and manage the borders  Enforce and administer immigration laws  Safeguard and secure cyberspace  Strengthen national preparedness and resilience (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2013, p. 6) Under this five-mission structure, DHS also emphasizes: inclusive senior leader discussions and forums that provide an environment of trust and transparency; a focused, collaborative departmental strategy that emphasizes more effective DHS-wide decision making processes and operations; enhanced coordinated operations; stakeholder engagement; and cross-agency priority goals. Cross-agency goals refer to the challenges the department faces in horizontally addressing issues across vertical organizational frameworks. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2013, pp. 6-7) B. DOS Strategy DOS has differing goals from DHS, which is to be expected, as the two departments have divergent missions and visions. DOS released a strategic plan for fiscal years 2014-2018 in 2014. The DOS plan, similar to that of DHS, also highlights a five-mission structure:  Strengthen America’s positive economic impact  Strengthen America’s foreign policy influence on strategic challenges  Promote clean and sustainable energy  Protect U.S. interest by advancing democracy and strengthening civil society  Modernize the ways of diplomacy and development (U.S. Department of State, 2014, p. 1) Visa security policies fall primarily under the first objective in the strategic plan: strengthening America’s positive economic impact. According to the report, the State Department promotes educational and professional exchanges and prioritizes the visa applications of students, scholars, and exchange visitors by regularly expediting appointments and maintaining short ques

×