Since the Boston bombings, there has been much debate about what, if any, additional security measures should be made to prevent further such attacks. Despite the fact that Dzohakhar Tsarnaev, the remaining suspect in the case, is a U.S. citizen, some have called for a tightening of immigration security measures. The first such measure to go into effect is an order to enforce visa reviews for arriving students.
The Associated Press reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection circulated an order last week ordering verification that every international student arriving in the U.S. has a valid visa.
The order came down in reaction to the discovery that a student from Kazakhstan named Azamat Tazhayakov, who is accused of hiding evidence from the Boston bombings, was allowed back into the U.S. in January despite being academically dismissed from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, causing his visa to be invalid. Tazhayakov and another student have been charged with obstruction of justice for their alleged involvement.
Before this new order, border agents were only allowed to check the validity of students' visas in an online databank (SEVIS) if the student was referred to a second officer for additional questioning. Thus, before, a student would have had to somehow indicate that he was a national security threat in order to have his visa run through a database. Now, border agents will be required to verify every student's visa status before he or she enters the U.S. This will be applicable at all border entry points including airports.
For more information on renewing student visas, please contact the law offices of Matthew H. Green. We have offices located in Tucson and Phoenix for your convenience.