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Commentary

Ban on Students Is the Wrong Course

November 12, 2001|NAJMEDIN MESHKATI | Najmedin Meshkati is an associate professor of engineering at USC and a founding member of the Assn. of Professors and Scholars of Iranian Heritage. E-mail: meshkati@usc.edu

If the students from the countries named in the Feinstein-Kyl bill were among the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 tragedy, it would have made sense to keep them at bay. But none of the terrorists identified so far were from the countries named in the bill.

I am an Iranian who attended school in the U.S., where Iranians form a vibrant, peaceful and law-abiding part of the American society. We stand resolutely in condemning acts of violence and terror. Like many other ethnic groups, thousands of highly educated Iranian professionals came to America as foreign students, got educated, found jobs and joined their American co-workers and neighbors to became productive members of society.

The contributions of Iranian nationals in the U.S. to advancement of science and technology in this country are too numerous to mention. Iranians can be found on college campuses, in national laboratories, think tanks, hospitals, high-tech companies and state and federal agencies.

In addition to hurting the U.S. institutions of higher education, the Feinstein-Kyl bill would deny foreign students what I consider to be the most important part of coming to America: striking up friendships with Americans, exposure to their multifaceted culture and experiencing their enviable freedom.

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