Tags: INS | Cracks | Down | Foreign | Students

INS Cracks Down on Foreign Students

Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM

The information would be compiled in a new Internet system.

In announcing the rule change, which will be voluntary until January, Ashcroft said that up to now the United States had no effective way of knowing how many of the 1 million non-immigrant foreign students and exchange-student aliens are in school.

"For too long our student visa system has been a slow, antiquated paper-driven system" incapable of determining whether foreign students went to class, he said.

The Justice Department later pointed out that terrorists, such as Sept. 11 hijacker Hani Hanjour, have used the student visa system to enter the country.

Under the new rule, U.S. schools will have to electronically report a variety of new information about foreign students to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The information includes a student's enrollment at school, the start date of the student's next term or session, a student's failure to enroll, a student dropping below full course load without authorization, any failure to complete a program or maintain student status, a student's change of name or legal address, any disciplinary action following the conviction of a student of a crime, and early graduation.

The new information will be compiled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, or SEVIS, an Internet data base that will allow schools and officials to access information immediately.

Schools are being asked to voluntarily participate in SEVIS as of July 1. Under the new rule, participation would become mandatory on Jan. 30.

On another front, Ashcroft acknowledged that the FBI was investigating 144 people, mostly from the Middle East, for allegedly participating in a scheme that involved impostors taking an English-proficiency exam for student visas.

Ashcroft said 60 people had been arrested, but gave no further details.

The operation came to light when U.S. prosecutors in Norfolk, Va., failed to seal information needed for search warrants.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported that a federal magistrate refused government requests to reseal the documents.

The newspaper said the information in some of the search warrants "detailed possible links between a suspect in the case and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In addition, one of the suspects had possible flight-training materials in a car the government seized from his Norfolk home, according to the warrants and other sources."

However, U.S. officials were privately warning the media not to jump to conclusions about the materials. They said no link had yet been established.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The information would be compiled in a new Internet system. In announcing the rule change, which will be voluntary until January, Ashcroft said that up to now the United States had no effective way of knowing how many of the 1 million non-immigrant foreign students and...
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2002-00-10
Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM
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