Friday, September 7, 2007

Should we also report people interested in learning foreign languages?

Michael Chertoff, currently Secretary of Homeland Security and rumored nominee to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, apparently thinks that colleges should be spying on foreign students:
Now appearing before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Chertoff has not been asked about or spoken directly on last Friday's indictment of two Egyptian-born University of South Florida students, one accused of trying to aid terrorists.

But under questioning from Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Palm Harbor Republican, Chertoff discussed in general terms how the government needs the cooperation of colleges and universities to know when foreign students aren't attending programs or classes in which they are enrolled.

Chertoff said some colleges "don't want to see themselves as enforcement tools for the government."

As the article points out, though, there's been no indication that these men were skipping classes anyways.

And how long should they have been in this country to be considered worthy of spying on? The two indicted Egyptian students are here on visas, but Seung-Hi Cho was a permanent resident. Would this include all foreign students, or is "foreign student" simply a euphemism for "Arab"?

Ironically, the student accused of "aiding terrorism" is here on an F-1 student visa, which means that he had to be approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

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