Confirmation that the students from Kazakhstan linked to the Boston bombers and arrested last week are living in the U.S. on expired or invalid student visas has exposed an immigration problem that’s festered for years.
Students flock to the U.S. from around the world. But when their visas expire, many simply stay.
The problem is fueled by loose laws and lax enforcement practices by the government and the schools attached to student visas. Responsibility for keeping track of the students is spread thin, leaving many free to overstay at will and leaving the country exposed to security threats. While the Department of Homeland Security is now taking steps to tighten the system, it’s unclear whether the immigration overhaul being considered in Congress will make any significant changes.
“I find it astonishing,” Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told FoxNews.com.
Luis Guerra, a Florida attorney who specializes in visas, said it is common for officials and schools to ignore the problem and said authorities only go after overstays if there’s a known national security threat or public safety concern.
He also said universities benefit financially by having more international students attend. A university typically charges thousands of dollars more in tuition and fees for out-of-country students.
“Usually, schools have only one person monitoring the student visas. It’s too much (work) for one person,” he told FoxNews.com. “There’s also a conflict of interest. Schools are in the business of making money and by rounding up students and sending them back, they don’t make any.”
Guerra, who came to America when he was 14 on a tourist visa and ended up staying illegally for years before going through the proper channels to become legal, believes the responsibility of cracking down on students should be taken away from schools and left to authorities.
Read more: FOX NEWS