INS wants to keep tab on foreign students

Fingerprints will be a requirement for some international students across the nation if they want to remain in the United States. A new registration system passed by Congress requires immigrants from selected Arab countries to comply with a new registration system that requires them to be photographed, fingerprinted and interviewed under oath.

Those who fail to do this could be arrested, fined or removed from the United States.

The mandate made effective by the Immigration and Naturalization Services on Nov. 6 is meant specifically for males who are 16 or older and are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria.

Representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering confirmed that they received the memo but would not give further comments on the departments’ reaction.

The release states that universities need to notify students from the targeted countries who need to comply with the INS order.

David Austell, director for International Student and Scholar Services, said USF has about a handful of students from Syria but no students from the other four designated countries.

Austell said his department contacted the students this would affect by telephone this week, and the department will continue to notify any international students about INS requirements they may have to comply with in the future.

Jorge Martinez, spokesman for the Department of Justice, said the requirement, which is referred to as National Security Entry Exit Registration System, needs all immigrants fitting the description to report to a local INS office by Dec. 16 to avoid any risk of detention.

The five Arab countries that are named in the mandate, Martinez said, conduct “state sponsored terrorism.”

The primary issue, Martinez said, is national security and not racial profiling.

Freshman Gargya Rahaul said he is not sure whether he considers it racial profiling either, but he said fingerprinting immigrants seems a bit extreme.

“You cannot expect everyone, everywhere to be a bad person,” Rahaul said. “But then what do you say after a situation like (Sept. 11).”

College students in the United States who fit the description listed on the mandate are required to show proof of enrollment along with proof of residency, whether they live on or off campus, Martinez said.

Students have to show that proof of enrollment with a class schedule, Martinez said, and will then be inspected by the INS on the same visit.

“All this in their local INS office takes no longer than 10-12 minutes,” Martinez said.

Those who are not students will have to bring identification along with visas to remain in the United States, Martinez said.

The INS is sending notices to universities as well as community relations services, civil rights groups, community groups and publishers, such as ethnic newspapers.