There should be some concern amongst international students, considering that at least two of the suspected hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks had entered the United States on student visas.
While earlier it has been fairly easy to obtain a student visa and stay long after its expiration date without risking any penalties, things are now starting to look a little different, even for people who are doing what they came to do – study.
President Bush is not yet sure how he will control illegal immigrants and make sure they are not terrorists, but he is sure some sort of control is needed. Last week he announced the creation of a new group of officials who will work “to find and deport foreigners who have overstayed visas or are otherwise in the country illegally.”
Reporters from the New York Times tried to get information about this new group and their function. Officials at the State Department and at the Immigration and Naturalization Service said they knew nothing beyond the White House’s announcement.
According to the New York Times, the State Department spokesmen referred reporters to immigration officials, but immigration officials referred reporters back to the State Department.
It’s the same procedure that every international student has to go through on a regular basis. Just imagine how much worse it will be if all the president’s projects come true.
Two senators have already proposed a bill that would make it almost impossible for some students to enter the United States, students who are from countries sponsoring terrorism. The countries currently on the list at the State Department are Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
Wanting harder rules for immigrants can be understood after all that has happened. However, closing the borders is not going to solve the problem with terrorism.
There are probably still terrorists within the United States. Closing the borders will only create more problems.
Think about those two children, for example, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning while waiting in a car with their parents to cross the Mexican border to get back into the United States. That should never have happened.
It’s impossible to say what should be done. Something needs to be done, that’s for sure, but it needs to be something else than restricting student visas.