A report today says immigration officials have “lost track” of 566 foreign students attending school in Nebraska and Iowa. I-N-S District Director Jerry Heinauer says they’re foreign nationals who came here to go to school and either never came to class, or dropped out. He says for several years, it’s been the responsibility of schools to report to INS the students who didn’t maintain their fulltime student status or didn’t report for classes. He says the INS priority has been on finding criminal aliens, not people whose sole offense is not maintaining a full course of studies. Heinauer says students who fall out of compliance with visa rules know it, but may not come to the attention of authorities for some time. He says they’ll commit some more serious offense or be found in a workplace roundup or when they’re ticketed for something. Heinauer says the attacks of last September threw more light on foreign students as a source of concern over homeland security. Some things like amnesty for aliens have been put on the back burner since 9-11. Heinauer says the INS has gotten more resources in recent months, but is also under more pressure to focus on potentially dangerous foreigners in the U-S, and he says there are an estimated 6-million people illegally in this country.
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