Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 20, 2012 – When a foreign student tried to bomb the Federal Reserve building in New York, it was obvious immigration security was slipshod.
“This story was greeted with a great deal of consternation when people realized that immigration security was not what it is cracked up to be. A 21-year-old alleged terrorist, in the U.S. on a student visa, attempted to detonate what he thought was a 1,000 bomb in front of the Federal Reserve building. He was actually here to recruit a terror cell to wage a jihad attack,” outlined Larry S. Rifkin, a Miami immigration lawyer and managing partner at Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, with law offices in Miami, Florida and Orlando, Florida.
As it turned out, the man was trying to detonate a bomb he had obtained from an FBI undercover agent. Police stepped in and arrested him. His other proposed attacks included the New York Stock Exchange and the President. How did the man get into the U.S. in the first place? “The individual in question entered the U.S. to ostensibly study cyber security, and actually did attend classes for one semester in Missouri before asking for a transfer to a Manhattan school,” Rifkin explained.
Under federal law, there are limits on an F student visa holder; limits that prevent them from working more than 20-hours per week while in school and banning them from working off campus within the first year of their arrival in the U.S. Evidently, the man worked at a hotel every day to pay for schooling, and the applied for a transfer to a new university after finishing just one semester.
It is strange that the transfer request did not raise red flags with the Department of Homeland Security, and the incident served to point out that a major weakness in the student visa system that still approves potential terrorists into the country. “In other words, the U.S. visa system is regarded as a superb tool to be to accomplish a terrorist’s goal(s),” said Rifkin.
While it may seem like a tempest in a teapot to some, consider the number of student visas granted each year – 476,000. At least 1,136 of those visas were granted to Bangladeshi nationals; compatriots of the man under arrest. “These large numbers certainly raise concerns over how that many students may be monitored. Obviously, something must be done about it. The question is what?” asked Rifkin.
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