Terrorists not necessarily foreigners

To the Editor:

In Meghan Clyne’s column (“Student visa controls benefit U.S. citizens, foreigners,” 12/4), I was horrified when I heard of plans to stymie the flow of foreign students to this country, especially since the Class of 2005 has a record number of foreign students. I have found their addition incredibly profitable.

Her contentions that these new visa restrictions would somehow help universities get and retain foreign students is even more ridiculous.

Clyne states first that “the skillful, not the scholarly, can apply to study ‘engineering’ or ‘pharmaceuticals’ — read bomb-making and chemical/biological weaponry.” What she fails to understand, however, is that foreign people, and therefore foreign students, are not somehow more disposed to terrorism than anyone else.

To suggest that to stop the flow of foreigners coming into the country will somehow “prevent terrorists from entering the country” is not only erroneous, but also, despite her objections to the contrary — xenophobic and prejudiced as well. Yes, it really is possible that a student from the Middle East really does want to study engineering or pharmaceuticals.

What some people seem to forget is that there are several terrorist groups based right here in the United States, and their members don’t need visas or passes, because they are home-grown American citizens. If foreigners asking for visas are suspected of being terrorists, then we all should be suspects as well.

There is a difference between stricter regulations at airports and the blatant racial profiling implied by stricter student visa regulations, and this seems apparent to me. I really hope that others supporting regulations on student visas might see this too.

Mandissa Logan ’05

December 4, 2001

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