In response to the Boston Marathon Bombings that occurred April 15, the U.S. government has decided to increase security for international students with U.S. visas. The move follows the Boston attacks where Azamat Tazhayakov, a 19-year-old student from Russia and a suspect in the attack, was found to have been residing in the U.S. on an expired student visa. The bombings killed three people, including former UCR extension student, Lu Lingzi, 23, and injured over 260 others. Tazhayakov’s actions have triggered the Department of Homeland Security to immediately recheck the status of visas for every student currently in the U.S.
The new measures demand mandatory inspection of every student visa before the student leaves for the U.S. If the visa is inaccurate or raises questions, they will recheck the visa manually through U.S. records on a database. Before the bombings, border agents would only check the students referred for questioning.
The protocol may create new challenges for international students studying in the United States.
Eunjoo Swang, a UCR Extension Center and business student from Korea said, “When I came here I had to come to the embassy to get a visa. [A visa] will be even harder to get … Maybe less people will want to come here because that means [the U.S. doesn’t] want us to come here.”
On the other hand, Abdullah Mughni, an international student at the UCR Extension Center, showed support for the tighter restrictions. He firmly believes that national security should be put first. “I just really felt bad [about the bombings],” said Mughni.