Non-US Students Jailed over Class Load

Yoshie Furuhashi yoshie at
Fri Jan 3 06:58:22 MST 2003

Non-U.S. students jailed over class load

Friday, December 27, 2002 Posted: 10:23 AM EST (1523 GMT)

DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- At least six Middle Eastern
students studying in Colorado have been jailed in the past
10 days for failing to take enough college classes as
required by their student visas.

The students ran into trouble when they showed up to
register with U.S. immigration officials, as required by
new rules to track foreign students.

When they reported, they were jailed and required to post
$5,000 bonds for enrolling in less than 12 hours of college

The Immigration and Naturalization Service says the
students are being detained because under-enrollment is a
violation of their student visas. The students are not
suspected of any other offense.

"We're concerned about the heavy-handed nature of the
enforcement and their lack of understanding of their own
regulations," said Chris Johnson, director of international
education at the University of Colorado at Denver.
"Students are being detained unfairly and callously."

One University of Colorado at Denver student was jailed
last week because he was one hour shy of a full load after
receiving college permission to drop a course, Johnson

"I don't believe this is helping us with the war on
terrorism," said Mark Hallett, director of international
student services at Colorado State University. "We're
alienating people who could be our best friends and
ambassadors once they return to their countries."

The Middle Eastern students were jailed for up to 48 hours
before posting bond. Three attend UCD, two study at
CU-Boulder, and one attends Colorado State University.

College officials expect more to be detained during a
second round of January registrations at the INS district
office in Denver.

Congress ordered federal registrations by December 16 for
males 16 and older carrying temporary visas from Iraq,
Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan -- countries identified by the
State Department as having ties to terrorism.

A January 10 deadline is 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.

"As far as the INS is concerned, this system was put in
place in Congress to combat the war on terrorism. We're
carrying out their wishes. This is a policy issue," said
Nina Pruneda, INS regional public affairs officer.

The INS wants to ensure that international students are
diligently pursuing a degree, she said.

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