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Preventive Measures against Possible Student Visa Misuse
Bombing, that took place in Boston, gave grounds to debates around the current U.S. students’ visa policy. According to Downey (n.d.), there are 764,495 foreign students, currently studying in the US. According to the data, collected by Downey (n.d.), “A quarter of them come from China, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey. And there are 274,000 American students studying abroad, most in England, Italy, Spain and France”. The debates, which take place around the incident and its consequences, involve number of parties, and each of them has their own point of view and tries to insist on it. However, almost everybody agrees, that a very careful investigation needs to be held and that the US government should take a lesson from the mistakes of the past, and the data about foreign students need to be collected and analyzed. Moreover, it is important to analyze, whether or not something could or could not have been done in order to prevent the horrible disaster from happening. Unfortunately, quite often nice slogans appear to be no more than good words, which are said, since they need to be said. Basically, the situation requires authorities to do at least something, otherwise they will be accused of indifference and ignoring the horrible situation in the country. This is unacceptable for each one of them and therefore, they do the speaking, in order to hide the signs of being helpless and powerless, and completely at a loss before the situation.
However, it is important to figure out, which steps need or can be taken in order to at least decrease the risk of similar incidents happening in the future. It is worthwhile remembering, that the people, who took active part in bombing, got into the USA through academic visas. So, one of the first thoughts, which come to mind, is about implementing a stricter control over issuing academic visas for people, who come to the USA through such visas.
Let us try to develop and discuss at least several possible solutions and make an attempt of choosing the one, which would be the most effective solution, considering modern state of affairs in the country.
The first solution is very simple. It is based on the information, that until very recent, in accordance to the data, provided by “The Daily Caller” (n.d.). “Under existing procedures, border agents could verify a student’s status in SEVIS only when the person was referred to a second officer for additional inspection or questioning”. So, after the incident in Boston, the authorities restarted working on this issue, which has been addressed before. In accordance with the information by “The Daily Caller” (n.d.), “The government for years has recognized as a problem the inability of border agents at primary inspection stations to directly review student-visa information. The Homeland Security Department was working before the bombings to resolve the problem, but the new memo outlined interim procedures until the situation was corrected”.
Abovementioned information may be one of the effective ways of dealing with the problems. It is very strange, that the border officers of the country, which is exposed to such a number of external threads, have got only limited access to the data about student visas, they check. One may even wonder, what the use of this check is at first place, if the check cannot even find out, whether the visa of the person checked is valid or not. It seems to be obvious, that this information is of primary importance, and, therefore, border officers need to be able to check it very quickly. It is very wrong, that only people, who cause a certain degree of suspicion, are checked in terms of validity of their visas.
One more possible solution of the problem is more careful checks in the streets. Another possible option, policemen should stop foreigners more frequently in order to check their documents and validity of their visas. It is well known, that many of the terrorists entered the US legally, however, they illegally stayed in the country, despite the expiration of their visas. However, such frequent checks may lead to unfortunate consequences.
First of all, it is obvious, that there are some racists and nationalists among the police officers. It is, probably, impossible to exclude such from service, since they may not necessarily openly manifest their position. So, this sort of preventive measures may give such policemen the power and the right to exercise their perverted principles and discriminate foreign students by origin, by the color of their skin and so on. Therefore, this solution may not be the best one, though it could partially take care of the problem. Another negative aspect of this very way of solving the problem is the following: the foreign students by themselves, and, especially, the extremists, may stand up against such a norm and, with a certain degree of right, claim, that their rights are being neglected and that they are being discriminated. On the one hand, such claims could be neglected for the security reasons - the lives of civil citizens are a very serious value, and, therefore, it may be worthwhile forgetting about the reputation and other things and let the foreigner students say all they want. However, from another point of view, this kind of a step may provoke new waves of protests and, therefore, terrorism. As a result, this way of solving the problem seems to be the least favorable, and the most risky one.
Another approach to the problem seems as the most effective in the long-run. As we have already stated above, nearly 800,000 foreign students study in the United States. Thus, we often can see that there are special programs, which offer students from certain countries special conditions for studying in the US. This, of course, needs to be seen as an attempt of the US to make the life in the third world countries better, but is it the right way to resolve the problem? It is not right, when a person is given special conditions when entering an educational establishment, only because he or she is coming from a certain country, or because he or she has got certain color of skin, or he or she belongs to a certain gender. These are factors, which are not directly related to the person’s academic achievements and abilities. Consequently, they should not be taken into serious consideration.
Matloff (n.d.) points out, “Though the United States should indeed welcome the immigration of “the world’s best brains,” are the foreign students typically of that caliber? The tech industry has put forth little to support such assertions. It has pointed to some famous immigrant success stories in the field but, in most cases, the people cited, such as Google cofounder Sergey Bring, never held foreign-student (F-1) or work (H-1B) visas (Brin immigrated with his parents to the United States at age 6). And more importantly, neither the industry nor any other participant in this national debate has offered any empirical analysis documenting that the visa holders are of exceptionally high talent”.
Indeed, if we get to think about it seriously, we will definitely get to understand, that granting somebody with a scholarship only because of his/her nationality, race or gender is just another side of discrimination; therefore, one of the most effective ways of solving the problem would be simply making the requirements for foreign students to enter US educational establishments much stricter.
There are several clear reasons, why this may help to resolve the problem. From my point of view, tt is obvious, that people, who are interested in science, are less likely to become terrorists. This is why by making the requirements stricter, we will decrease the number of those, potentially dangerous for the nation to enter the country on a student’s visa.
Another reason may sound a bit strange at the beginning, but it seems to have a point as well. A person, who still makes up his mind to enter the country on a students’ visa in order to commit an act of terror, will have to make more serious preparations. He or she will have to spend some time studying, which may give them an opportunity to reconsider their decision, to give it, as it were, a second thought. If we take into consideration the fact, that such acts are regularly made by people in affection, we may have good chances of decreasing the likelihood of such acts.
One more reason in support of this scenario is also very simple: by upgrading the standards we will certainly decrease the number of foreign students in the country; therefore, it will be much easier to keep track of those, who do study in the US, in comparison to the current situation. It will be easier to update data on them, get to know about any suspicious behavior, etc.
This brings us to a thought, that the solution, which presupposes making the standards for entering US educational establishments by the foreigners higher, is the most effective and promising way of dealing with the problem. We often run into foreign students, who study at the US universities and hardly speak English. As a matter of fact, they are free to speak their native language, but do they really understand the lectures at their universities, can they really cope with the curriculum in English? This is a question, and in many cases the answer is no, but having received a negative answer we may wonder, what are these people doing here, if not studying. Consequently, this is a reasonable concern, since some of those people may be involved in the acts of terror.
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