Your article (March 8) on the rising number of visitors who overstay their “welcome” highlights the seeming ineptitude of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and State Department. I find it hard to believe that there is no mechanism to keep track of these visitors. “We wouldn’t even know where to start looking for them,” an official says.
To end this outrage, I propose the imposition of an entry deposit for all visitors to this country. This refundable deposit of let us say $1,000 could be collected at point of entry or at the visa distribution center. This money would be returned when the visitor returns to his country and would be subject to forfeit if the visitor did not leave as scheduled. These forfeited funds could then be utilized to establish a system to keep track of visitors to the country.
Based on your figures of 293 million visitors, $290 billion would be collected and if 10% stay on illegally, an annual budget of $30 billion would remain to effect these reforms.