Homeland Security program endangers foreign students

By
April 3, 2003

Hundreds of immigrants have been arrested all over the United States over the course of the year because of the implementation of “special registration programs.”

These programs were a product of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and required all males over the age of 16, from countries including Iraq, Iran, Libya and Sudan, to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

According to an article published in an online news group, The Blue Triangle Network, many of those who failed to do so were victims of secret mass deportations hindering immigrant rights activists’ ability to help them.

Because of the government’s increased vigilance on international students, some of those arrested and deported were young men and women here to attend colleges and universities.

Nowadays, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a computer system intended for tracking all those entering the country for educational purposes, is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As a result, many international students feel attacked and the center of unwanted attention.

It is very difficult for students from third world countries to attend colleges and universities in the United States because of financial constraints, but having to worry about persecution is ridiculous.

International students like myself come here in search of an education, but because of the unfortunate course of events, I feel that my primary goal might be compromised.

At a time when I have to think about school, a job and the difficult task of adapting to a new environment, I have the added concern of possibly being the target of an arrest and deportation, based on nothing else but my ethnicity.

The academic world is supposed to foster growth through education and coalition, but I feel that the American government is promoting fear and dissention on college campuses.

By telling the American people that immigrants of color might be menacing, the government is endangering the well-being and safety of thousands of students.

Even participating in peaceful demonstrations could potentially get foreign students arrested and deported on the grounds of partaking in “suspicious” activities.

I understand that it is a precarious time for citizens and non-citizens alike, yet I think that there is additional pressure and uncertainty when ones ethnic origins lie in the Middle East and South East Asia. Surely I am not alone when I say that terror is not the way to root out terrorism on American soil.


Homeland Security program endangers foreign students was published on April 3, 2003 in Opinions

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