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U.S. image suffers from new laws

Stricter regulations limiting entry into the United States have resulted in hundreds of students nationwide being denied or delayed in obtaining visas.

Although the regulations are under security’s guise, it is unlikely that the new measures will protect the country against future terrorist attacks; the Justice Department has fumbled for answers since Sept. 11, 2001, and the free exchange of information has been trampled needlessly in the process.

There is near certainty that Immigration and Naturalization Service has interrupted the entry of good-intentioned, law-abiding applicants to U.S. schools.

Even students who were granted visas may have faced lengthy background checks (causing some to miss registration deadlines), and all will face a $54 fee to fund an Internet tracking database that universities must use by Jan. 30.

The new regulations are detrimental to higher education not only by denying entry to innocent students, but also by the precedent they set.

The effects of the stricter measures will be immediate in limiting the number of international students in the United States, yet they will be slow in making the country safer. Individuals who are determined to wreak terror on the United States will still find a way to circumvent INS regulations.

The new measures also beg the higher education communities to ask where the new security regulations will end. Measures such as the Patriot Act allow the government to monitor e-mails students send, books they check out of the library and even courses they take.

It is no stretch of the imagination that the U.S. government will soon demand prior review of all research being conducted by international students. If the challenges of an American education outweigh its advantages, then the enrollment of international students will eventually decline, costing the United States cultural and economic benefits.

University Wire — Cornell University