A University of Iowa official’s not a fan of Justice Department proposals to fingerprint, photograph and compile background data on some foreign visitors. Gary Althen directs international students and scholars who come to the University of Iowa and he says those students already go through plenty of scrutiny. He says U-S law already requires fingerprinting of folks from countries that support terrorism, but it’s not clear that’s being carried out at ports of entry.He says consular officers are asking more questions and demanding more information, and men from some countries go through a new security clearance that takes extra days or weeks. Althen says some new procedures will help prevent the so-called “lost students” who drop off the radar when they don’t register or drop out. When a foreign student enters the U-S, the school for which they’re headed will be told and must tell the I-N-S if they don’t show up. Althen says there are plenty of existing rules to track foreign students that should simply be enforced. One’s an address reporting rule, he says, that’s been on the books for years. Althen says it’s a waste of money to create new programs to track foreign students because the record shows they’re not the ones behind illegal or terrorist acts.Foreign students make up about two-percent of the foreigners who come here, and he says the other 98-percent don’t have to go through the school admissions hassle that students do. Althen says the proposals for tighter screening haven’t cut down the applications by foreign students so far, but he’s waiting to see how many actually show up for summer term and in the fall.
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