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Schools Bring Terrorists to the U.S.

"In a very critical sense, the U.S. has delegated its role in selecting immigrants to thousands of institutions whose incentives do not coincide with the national interest," says George J. Borjas of the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that wants stricter immigration rules. He?s talking about the fact that most of the 911 terrorists got their visas by applying to U.S. universities and flight schools, which were not on the lookout for that kind of sabotage.

73,000 U.S. learning institutions can issue I-20s, the forms that accompany a school's acceptance letter and allow someone to begin obtaining a student visa. In San Diego alone, there are 400 such institutions, including language and beauty schools and the San Diego Golf Academy. Some of these schools, Borjas says, "look and act an awful lot like visas-for-sale storefronts."

Schools say they can?t be blamed for who gets approved for entry into the U.S. "Schools never have, don't today and don't purport to or aspire to be visa-issuing institutions," says Victor Johnson, of the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers. "Schools make academic determinations as to who's admissible to their institutions." He claims that student visa applications are not rubber stamped and says that the State Department recently rejected 28% of student applications.

But Borjas isn?t convinced and says foreign students also have a much better chance of gaining permanent legal residency than people who use other methods. And schools don?t like to turn potential students away, because they?re a good source of tuition.

When visa standards are lax, taxpayers actually end up supporting terrorists, because even students paying full tuition don?t actually cover the cost of their education. At state schools, the government subsidy averages $9,200 a year, and at private schools it averages $6,400. All this costs taxpayers $2.5 billion a year.

Terry W. Hartle, of the American Council on Education, calls Borjas? statements "ideology masquerading as analysis" and says many of the problems he complains about have to do with the overall immigration system.

Still, Senator Robert Byrd was convinced enough to block consideration on the Senate floor of a bill that would have reversed a 1996 law that bars state colleges and universities from offering illegal immigrants in-state tuition. The bill would also have allowed students who meet certain requirements to have their deportation orders rescinded and allowed them to be considered ahead of others for legal residency.

If immigration becomes more of a watchdog, can the FBI be far behind? Or will they continue to drop the ball on terrorism? Find out by reading ?The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI? by Ronald Kessler,click here.

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