Morning Security Brief: Student Visa Scrutiny Worries Educators, Immigration Reform Efforts Progress, and More

By Laura Spadanuta

Student visas are being more closely scrutinized since the Boston Marathon bombings last week. But The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that some educators are concerned about the added scrutiny to students and that this might be an overreaction to an isolated incident. The Department of Homeland Security move was motivated by a Kazakh student who was accused of hiding evidence for one of the bombing suspects; the student's visa was no longer valid. According to the article, "The University of Massachussetts at Dartmouth apparently terminated Azamat Tazhayakov's status as an international student weeks earlier, but a border agent at the airport did not have access to that information, even though it had been filed in a federal government database." 

The Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings on amendments to a bill that addresses both border security and immigration reform this week, and yesterday, it accepted at least eight Republican amendments to the bill that relate to border security, reports The New York Times. The proposals included a mandate for 100 percent border surveillance, and the creation of a border commission to assist if goals are not met in a certain time frame. Mark-up, as the amendment process is called, will continue for about a month. The bill is contentious, and its prospects for passage are uncertain.c

Computer security specialist and security blogger Bruce Schneier writes in The Atlantic about the importance of transparency and accountability in government, especially with regard to counterterrorism laws. He cites various technologies that have cost money but not been shown to be helpful, such as the puffer machines at airports. He points out the possibility of mission creep and the fact that lack of accountability means the government can break laws and collect data until an outside group takes note. He writes, "transparency and accountability keep both law enforcement and politicians from lying to us." 

Also in the news, Ariel Castro, accused of holding three women captive for a decade, has also been accused of beating and emotionally terrorizing his wife before she died. And prosecutors have released video evidence that was used against a border patrol agent who was acquitted last month of choking an immigrant. The video shows the agent push down on the immigrant and the immigrant collapse.


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