Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Homeland Security Is Still A Joke wrt Student Visas

Eleven Egyptian students who arrived in the United States last month are being sought by U.S. authorities after failing to turn up at Montana State University.

The 11 Egyptian men were among a larger group of students who arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from Cairo on July 29 with valid visas, according to FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Yes, I support racial profiling. Yes, I think men from Egypt should get greater scrutiny at our airports than West Point graduates who travel on round-trip tickets, with checked luggage, with a 10-year-old son (long story, maybe for another post). And sure, these men may be harmless people who just want to enjoy the US for awhile.

But until we know that, I want someone to treat this like a threat.

In giving some credit to the US government, I acknowledge that 5 years ago no one would have known or cared that these students never showed up for school. So, this is progress. However, this is a tiny shred of progress, and I want more.

I thought from the beginning that creating a new org chart with the Dept. of Homeland Security was a fool's errand, and nothing I've learned in the intervening years has changed that belief. Even the name is stupid, shockingly reminiscent of Soviet governmental institutions. For all the money spent on DHS, are they doing better than would have been done merely by tearing down Gorelick's wall between the FBI and CIA?

Now, back to the story at hand. I have to wonder, what do we really get for having these students--yes, probably Muslims since they're coming from predominately Muslim countries--come to our universities? Nominally a friendly nation, Egypt's news services (run by the government) are some of the most virulently anti-US in the Mid East. Are these few students supposed to come here, lose their lifetime of programming, become enraptured with all things American, and go back home and sing praises of the Fruited Plain? Do people really believe that's what happens?

Seems nuts to me. We're at war with the very ideology that they've grown up with. We need to be much more careful about who we let in and how we track them. I'll bet it wouldn't take long to find the exact location of Cadet Jameel at any given moment....

Update: Caught three of them in different states.

Update #2, 8/11/06: Now it's up to six.

Update #3, 8/13/06: Got nine of them so far.

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