Monitoring Foreign Students in the United States: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) [January 8, 2004] [open pdf - 58KB]
"There has been increased interest in monitoring foreign students while maintaining the long tradition of permitting international scholars to study in the United States. There are three main avenues for students from other countries to temporarily come to the United States to study, and each involves admission as a nonimmigrant. The three visa categories used by foreign students are: F visas for academic study; M visas for vocational study; and J visas for cultural exchange. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented an electronic foreign student monitoring system. When Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, it added statutory language mandating that the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Education, develop by January 1, 1998, a program to collect data on foreign students from at least five countries, and mandated that by 2003, the data collection include all countries. IIRIRA required the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to collect the information electronically 'where practical.' The USA Patriot Act of 2001 included provisions to expand the foreign student tracking system and authorized appropriations for the system, which was supposed to be funded through fees, paid by the students. The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 increased monitoring of foreign students and closed perceived loopholes."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32188
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