Student Visas

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Benazir Bhutto and Carlos Salinas. Ehud Barak and Corazon Aquino. Top names all, and all educated on American campuses. The U.S. student visa links America and the world. As was also the case with Hani Hasan Hanjour, Mohammed Atta, too, though his came through a little late. You open the door to future leaders, you open the door to terrorists.

A million or more foreign students learn and train on American soil, lost in the system, poorly logged, hard to trace. An enemy within, say post-9-11 alarmists and a debate is raging, what does the U.S. gain? All agree the system needs changing. A new system is set for a January launch. But get out the balance sheet, weigh risk and cost, and fortress America may slam the gate.


George Borjas, professor of economics and social policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

Catheryn Cotten, director of the International Office at Duke University