Foreign students to see increased checks at border

Tyler Gieseke

The Department of Homeland Security will implement a stricter check system for foreign students entering the U.S. after a foreign student was arrested for obstructing justice in the Boston bombing investigations.

Azamat Tazhayakov, a friend of one of the Boston bombing suspects, was arrested for hiding evidence that the suspect was involved in the bombings, the New York Times reported.

But officials said Tazhayakov shouldn’t have been in the U.S. in the first place, the Times said.

After his enrollment at the University of Massachusetts ended Jan. 4 of this year, Tazhayakov left the U.S. — as a result, he technically couldn’t return on his student visa. But when he re-entered the U.S. Jan. 20 and presented his visa, which said it was valid until August 30, the customs officer didn’t know his enrollment had ended, the Chicago Tribune reported, and he was allowed through.

In addition to standard checks, foreign students arriving in the U.S. will now be checked through a database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System to prevent lapses, according to the Times. The database contains information about students’ enrollment.

Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, in a Thursday letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, called for answers to questions about the student visas of Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev, who was also charged with obstructing justice in the bombing investigations, according to the Tribune.

Grassley asked whether Kadyrbayev was also in violation of his visa and said he wanted to know what the government was doing to ensure foreign students weren’t violating visa rules, the Tribune said.