The Guardian (UK)
Saturday December 28, 2002
US jails 'work shy' foreign students
At least six Middle Eastern students in Colorado have been detained in the
past 10 days for failing to take as many classes as stipulated by their
They ran into trouble when they went to register with immigration officials,
in keeping with new rules introduced to track foreign students.
They were jailed, and not released until they had lodged $5,000 (£3,100)
bail, for enrolling in fewer than 12 hours of classes.
The immigration and naturalisation service says they were detained because
under-enrollment is a violation of their student visas.
They are not suspected of any other offences.
Chris Johnson, director of international education at the University of
Colorado at Denver, said: "We're concerned about the heavy handed nature of
the enforcement. "Students are being detained unfairly and callously."
One student was jailed last week because he was one hour short of the
requirement after receiving college permission to drop a course, Mr Johnson
Mark Hallett, director of international student services at Colorado State
University, said: "I don't believe this is helping us with the war on
terrorism. We're alienating people who could be our best friends and
ambassadors once they return to their countries."
Congress ordered federal registrations by December 16 of males 16 and older
carrying temporary visas from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan.
There is a deadline of January 10 for men from the United Arab Emirates,
North Korea, Morocco, Afghanistan and nine other countries.
Two more rounds of registrations will follow, with the goal of tracking most
foreign nationals by 2005. More arrests are therfore expected.