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Halt on student visas has little effect at SDSU

September 30, 2001|By SAM SCOTT, Special to this newspaper

WASHINGTON (MNS) — A push in Washington to temporarily halt the issuance of new student visas would not greatly influence San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus, according to the campus dean.

"This would have very little effect," said Dean Khosrow Fatemi. "We have very few international students."

On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced plans for legislation that would put a six-month moratorium on student visas in the wake of the reported discovery that Hani Hanjour, a suspect in the recent terrorist attacks, entered the country on a student visa.

Such a move could have major effects on the California economy. More than 60,000 foreign students study in California, contributing more than $1.6 billion to the state's economy, according to the Association of International Educators, a Washington-based organization that promotes the exchange of students and scholars to and from the United States.

SDSU-IV, which emphasizes international programs for its students, has only about nine foreign students among a student body of around 900, Fatemi said.

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Students who already have visas would not be affected under Feinstein's plan. There are about 500,000 foreign students studying in the country at the moment, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service said. Feinstein's plan also proposes a system to track foreign students after they enter the country.

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