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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Washington Times Op-Ed: Closing the loophole on student visas

March 31, 2011
Press Release

By Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Published March 30, 2011

On Feb. 23, the FBI arrested Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a 20-year-old Saudi national studying in the United States on a student visa, for plotting terrorist attacks against soldiers, critical infrastructure and former President George W. Bush.

The Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, reportedly first entered the United States on a student visa.

Several Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists overstayed their student visas.

Unfortunately, these are just a few of the high-profile examples of abuses in our student visa program. We have nearly 800,000 students in the country who are participating in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

Most foreign students come here with noble intentions, and while not all terrorists have come to the United States under the guise of a student visa, many do.

Those who seek to do our nation harm have found a loophole in our security, and we must work actively to address shortcomings in the system to avoid future exploitation of the program.

This is why I have introduced the Student Visa Security Improvement Act (H.R. 1211), which will improve the background checks conducted on student visa applicants from high-risk areas and enhance America's ability to ensure that foreign students are abiding by the terms of their visas once in the United States. ... Click here to read more