Immigration officials have lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who arrived in the United States on student visas and overstayed their welcome, according to ABC News. Department of Homeland Security officials apparently failed to keep track of the foreign nationals because of the rapidly increasing number of students coming to the U.S. and overstaying their visas. In the last year, ABC reported, some 58,000 students had overstayed their visas, and 6,000 persons couldn’t be found when agents tried to track them down.
The U.S. government provides visas to foreign students who desire to receive training in anything from acupuncture to hair braiding and trusts the individual schools to monitor the location of the foreign students. If the student fails to arrive in class, the government counts on the school to notify federal officials of their concerns.
Senator Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) told ABC that 26 foreign students with visas have been arrested on terrorism-related charges since 9/11. He also said several for-profit schools appear to be operating with the primary concern of obtaining visas for students. “We know we have a lot of non-accredited universities that are using this system to bring people in, collect money, and not educate them at all,” he said. “To me, it’s a mess.”
ABC noted that the man who flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon and another man who drove the van containing explosives into the World Trade Center garage in 1993 both had student visas, and neither showed up for school as expected.