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Student Visas Require Scrutiny

November 17, 2001

In "Ban on Students Is the Wrong Course" (Commentary, Nov. 12), Najmedin Meshkati identifies himself, saying, "I am an Iranian."

He refers to Americans and "their multifaceted culture" and "their enviable freedom." He speaks of the contributions of "Iranian nationals in the U.S." He says Iranians can be found on American "college campuses, in national laboratories, think tanks, hospitals, high-tech companies and state and federal agencies."

If his and the other Iranians' allegiances are obviously with Iran, why wouldn't they take all of the wonderful education they have received in this country and return with it to their homeland and perhaps help their country eventually prosper and acquire some enviable freedom?

Of course the easier path, since student visas mean little or nothing, is just to stay here and get a high-paying job and enjoy an American life while remaining an Iranian.

I think the Feinstein-Kyl bill closing loopholes in our visa system is long overdue.

Barbara Vaccariello



The administration's decision to put a lid on admitting foreign students is totally blind and erroneous.

The reason for this was that some of the Sept. 11 terrorists came into the U.S. as students. We admit hundreds of thousands of foreign students into the U.S. every year, and they are one of the many important sources of our foreign earnings. And these foreign students, after years of studies in the U.S., are the only reliable allies that the U.S. has in countries around the world.

Look, most of the current Taiwanese leaders were educated and trained in the U.S., and they are staunch supporters and allies of U.S. policy in the Pacific region, not to mention a great many such elite groups in many other nations around the world. Can we afford--and is it wise--to pass the Feinstein-Kyl bill? Tighten up screening of foreign students, yes, but don't put a lid on admitting foreign students.

David Ma

Monterey Park


Re "We Can't Afford to Be Cavalier About Our Borders," Commentary, Nov. 12: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) are wrong. U.S. immigration does not need more bureaucracy; the INS only needs to do a better job by using all the existing tools that it has under the existing regulations.

The foreign student goes through a screening process; this process needs to be properly enforced and all documents heavily scrutinized. The applicant needs to be interviewed by trained personnel as many times as needed.

All the airlines (but U.S. carriers primarily) need to place ahead of everything the security of their passengers and communicate and cooperate with the INS. (They are the first line in this prevention system.)

And once and for all, the U.S. needs to implement a national identification system (maybe upgrading the existing driver's license ID card for proper identification) that will replace the misuse of Social Security numbers.

I am sure that the majority of the people will choose information for security purposes instead of information for marketing and financial purposes.

Luis G. Pisterman

Stevenson Ranch

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