Senators Tackle Student Visas In Immigration Bill

Senators Tackle Student Visas In Immigration Bill

Posted: Updated:
Washington -

(AP) Citing problems exposed by the Boston Marathon bombings, senators weighing amendments to a sweeping immigration bill agreed Tuesday to boost security provisions around student visas.

The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed by voice vote to an amendment by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa meant to ensure that border patrol agents at U.S. ports of entry have access to information on the status of student visas.

The committee action follows recent revelations that a student from Kazakhstan accused of hiding evidence for one of the Boston bombing suspects was allowed to return to the U.S. in January without a valid student visa.

The student visa for Azamat Tazhayakov had been terminated when he arrived in New York on Jan. 20. But the border agent in the airport did not have access to the information in the Department of Homeland Security's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, called SEVIS.

Grassley's amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security to certify that data from SEVIS is transferred into the databases used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at U.S. ports of entry. If that is not done within 120 days of enactment, issuing of student visas would be suspended.

"This will plug a loophole in terms of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., an author of the immigration bill. "It really strengthens the bill and shows that our bill ... is going to make things better in terms of terrorism."

The committee also agreed to a second Grassley amendment aimed at cracking down on fraud in the student visa program. Two of the Sept. 11 terrorists entered the U.S. on student visas and Grassley said that demonstrated problems with the program. His second amendment, also approved by voice vote, would tighten accreditation requirements for schools hosting foreign students and prohibit flight schools not certified by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration from offering student visas.

The action came as the Judiciary Committee met for a second day to plow through 300 amendments to a bipartisan immigration bill that would secure the border, remake legal immigration and workplace enforcement, and put the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally on a path to citizenship.

On a day of grab-bag action, authors of the bill also banded together with other senators to turn back GOP efforts to rewrite provisions of the bill dealing with high-tech workers.

And the Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to allow 10,500 new visas for African and Caribbean nations to partially make up for the elimination under the bill of a different visa program relied on by African nations. The Congressional Black Caucus had protested elimination of that program.



  • Political NewsMore>>

  • Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:02:25 GMT
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
  • Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:33:08 GMT
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
  • Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:08:18 GMT
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Video Purports To Show Beheading Of Another US Journalist

    Video Purports To Show Beheading Of Another US Journalist

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:25 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:25:29 GMT
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group. Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syria in August 2013.
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group. Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syria in August 2013.
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti: We Need To Make Sure People Have Enough To Spend For The Economy

    Mayor Eric Garcetti: We Need To Make Sure People Have Enough To Spend For The Economy

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:23 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:23:16 GMT
    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has used Labor Day to call for raising the city's minimum wage. Garcetti on Monday announced a proposal hike from the current $9 per hour to $13.25 in 2017.
    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has used Labor Day to call for raising the city's minimum wage. Garcetti on Monday announced a proposal hike from the current $9 per hour to $13.25 in 2017.
  • Russia's Gains Cloud Obama's Assurances To The Baltics

    Russia's Gains Cloud Obama's Assurances To The Baltics

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-09-02 15:02:19 GMT
    For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security.
    For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices