- SWAT spends seven hours in standoff with empty home
- Troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
- Iran’s Rouhani: Israel, Islamic State are ‘tumors derived from the same origin’
- Rep. Tim Murphy: GOP knew HealthCare.gov would be an ‘unmitigated disaster’
- Political speak: Planned Parenthood dumps ‘pro-choice’ for ‘women’s health’
- U.S. attorney warns Cuomo not to interfere with anti-corruption probes
- Investigators reach Ukraine jet crash site
- Ohio gives Obama a thumbs down; Hillary Clinton tops GOP all-stars: poll
- Jesse Ventura suggests suit not over; HarperCollins could be next
- ‘No American is proud’ of certain CIA tactics: State Department
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Student visas don’t facilitate terror
Question of the Day
Unfortunately, nearly 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001, commentators and public officials too often continue to repeat inaccurate information about the connection between those tragic events and foreign students (“Closing the loophole on student visas,” Commentary, March 31).
It is not the case, as Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Florida Republican, states, that “several Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists overstayed their student visas.” In fact, just one of the 19 terrorists entered the country on a student visa; the other 18 had tourist or business visas. This has been confirmed by the 9/11 Commission and by then-Immigration and Naturalization Service and Department of State officials. Somehow foreign students make for easy scapegoats. The reality is that they are already exhaustively tracked - more so than any other non-immigrant visitor - and there is no evidence that would-be terrorists use students visas more often than they use any other type of visa to enter the United States.
That said, we strongly support efforts to limit the ability of individuals to abuse the foreign student visa system. Appropriately, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which manages the foreign student tracking system, is working to tighten its procedures for certifying schools to issue the documents needed to obtain student visas. The reality is that no system is immune to abuse. No matter how many layers of security we impose, we will never be able to know everything about people’s intentions.
What we do know is that over the years, few things have been more valuable to America’s security than the goodwill and connections of foreign students who have studied here and gone home to assume leadership roles in their countries. We cannot afford to squander this resource. To be sure, we must be serious about our security. But we must be careful not to close off the best assets we have for preserving that security.
VICTOR C. JOHNSON
Senior adviser, public policy
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
Get Breaking Alerts
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Politics and corruption driving water woes
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Laws should target criminals, not the law-abiding
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Temple Mount is still Judaism's holiest site
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: If Israeli laid down its arms
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Stop silence on relocations of illegal aliens