In Letter To Chairman King, Hochul Urges Immediate Hearing On Student Visa Program, Security Vulnerabilities

Oct 26, 2012 Issues: National Security

WILLIAMSVILLE N.Y.  - Today, Representative Kathy Hochul (NY-26) sent a letter to the Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Peter T. King (NY-3) urging for a hearing to be held on security vulnerabilities in the nation’s student visa program. This request follows an attempted bombing on the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, in which the primary suspect entered the United States on a student visa. According to intelligence officials and the New York Police Department (NYPD), the suspect came to the United States with the intent to commit a terrorist act and exploited the student visa program to gain entry.

“To fulfill the Committee’s mission of providing congressional oversight and protecting the American people from terrorism, I believe we must fully scrutinize the suspect’s admission into our country, the approval of his subsequent transfer between schools, and any other instances where decision makers at the State Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or other federal agencies may have erred,” wrote Rep. Hochul, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

According to the Department of State, 457,432 total student visas were issued in FY 2011. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation preceding the attempted attack found that “sham universities” in the United States frequently serve as fronts for foreign nationals who may be planning terrorist activities.

Rep. Hochul is a member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.