Tuesday, August 08, 2006

FBI Searching For 11 Egyptians Missing In USA

Federal authorities are hunting for 11 Egyptian students who disappeared en route to an exchange program at Montana State University at Bozeman. The students, all of whom had valid visas, were part of a group that landed in New York on a flight from Cairo 10 days ago. Six students arrived on the Bozeman campus. According to federal officials, the students who failed to turn up will probably be deported when they are found for violating the terms of their visas. The authorities decliined to identify the students, who are 18 to 22 years old, but the FBI said they were not considered dangerous.The incident is likely to rekindle worries that would-be terrorists are using student visas to gain entry to the United States, as did at least one of the terrorists of September 11, 2001. In the aftermath of those attacks, the federal government imposed a rigorous system of checks on exchange students and the institutions that would be their hosts. The checks, which included a steep fee, a lengthy review by State Department officials in the students’ home countries, rigid restrictions on students’ ability to leave and re-enter the United States, and an elaborate database to track foreign students, caused a drop for the first time in three decades in the number of foreigners seeking to study at American colleges and universities. It has been only in the last year that the number of exchange students has resumed its upward climb