Student Visas Amendment Added to Immigration Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the immigration reform bill yesterday with legislation to better monitor student visas.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) proposed an amendment that requires Customs and Border Protection, CBP, officials be immediately notified when a student visa is no longer valid. The Boston bombings is very much the basis of this amendment.

One of the students accused of the Boston bombing was allowed to enter the U.S. in January of this year even though he hadn’t made an esta aanvraag, let alone get his visa. He did not register to school before leaving the U.S., and his visa was pulled because of it. The CBP officer who allowed him to reenter the U.S. did not have that information available. The current system allows for a 30-day grace period so that students can renew their visa and/or change to some other authorized status.

The Boston bombings killed three people and injured more than 260. It happened the same week the Gang of 8 presented their immigration reform bill. Grassley immediately made the connection and stressed the importance of closing the loopholes in the immigration system that could prevent tragedies like this one.

The amendment was adopted with a unanimous vote.

The Committee agreed that having better communication and a more stringent system would be better for national security. If the immigration reform bill passes, the law would require a real-time, immediate transfer of data from the SEVIS system to the CBP officers at ports of entry.

Another amendment that was adopted yesterday would create more strict penalties for institutions involved in student visa fraud and create more strict requirements at flight schools.  Two of the 9/11 hijackers were trained at flight schools.

More on Immigration Reform:

  • Immigration Reform 2013
  • Gang of 8
  • Earned Citizenship
  • Streamlining Immigration
  • Strengthening Border Security
  • More Accountability for Employers Hiring Undocumented Immigrants