Border Security

US to overlook minor overstays by foreign visitors

Many foreigners coming to the United States no longer have to worry about being handcuffed, searched and denied entry just because they stayed too long on previous visits. The government says it's softening its procedure toward foreigners coming in from 27 so-called visa-waiver countries whose citizens are allowed in on their passports alone. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner says, since Nine-Eleven, those people have often been "treated as criminals" if they'd stayed too long on previous visits. They've been denied re-entry and taken into custody if a return flight to their home country was not immediately available. That routine outraged Britain and other U-S allies in the visa-waiver group. Inspectors will still have discretion to deny re-entry based on their assessment of whether the visitor is a security risk.