Visa Overstay Has Sickening Consequences in Virginia
A 20-year-old foreign national who overstayed his visa has been charged with abduction and three counts of raping a missing pre-teen girl in Virginia.
Although multiple media reports erroneously identified Brandon Estrada De Leon as a “Virginia man” and even a “Leesburg native” he was an alien who entered this country on a travel visa obtained in 2020 and stuck around for more than two years after it lapsed.
De Leon’s arrest came after a report of a missing juvenile in the leafy Washington, D.C., suburb of Leesburg. Though the girl was later found alive, investigators said De Leon harbored the minor while misleading authorities as to her whereabouts. The young captive had been sexually assaulted repeatedly.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said De Leon entered the country with a travel visa on Oct 14, 2020, but failed to leave by April 21, 2021, the visa’s expiration date. ICE said it had placed a detainer on De Leon upon his arrest, requesting he be handed over to immigration officials if and when he is released. Better late than never? Officials have not disclosed De Leon’s nationality.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to the U.S. on a wide variety of visas end up overstaying their welcome. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admitted in June that more than 850,000 foreign nationals overstayed in Fiscal Year 2022. The 3.64 percent overstay rate was more than double that of recent years.
ICE states that it prioritizes overstays “on a case-by-case basis.” But DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas signaled his priorities when he declared last year, “A non-citizen’s unlawful presence in the United States will not, by itself, be a basis for the initiation of an enforcement action.”
Jon Feere, a former chief of staff at ICE, summed up the De Leon situation succinctly: “An illegal alien charged with abducting and raping a child is a tourist visa overstayer [and] ‘not a priority’ under the Biden administration’s lawless anti-enforcement agenda.”
Belatedly, ICE did issue a detainer on De Leon after his arrest, indicating he is now, at last, a priority for removal. But it’s too little, too late for the girl he abducted and abused. If convicted, De Leon is looking at several well-deserved decades behind bars – and still in the U.S.
How De Leon even procured a U.S. visa amidst the travel restrictions of the COVID pandemic is another loose thread to this story. But his open-ended stay was all too common, as well as problematic. Citing chronic levels of visa overstays, the 9/11 Commission observed, “For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.” FAIR’s regularly updated compendium of crimes committed by persons illegally in this country grows daily.
Aiming to step up penalties on visa scofflaws, the House’s Border Security and Enforcement Act of 2023 includes a provision that would reclassify overstays as “illegal entry” and raise the penalties on offenders. That’s a mild proposal even Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., should have embraced (but didn’t). Paul DePape, the man who assaulted the then-House speaker’s husband in their San Francisco home, was a visa overstayer.
America has enough homegrown criminals. It’s past time that Washington got serious about illegal aliens walking our streets with expired visas.