Tracking trouble. (Letters).We at the INS INS
1. Immigration and Naturalization Service
2. International News Service
Noun 1. INS were amused a·muse
tr.v. a·mused, a·mus·ing, a·mus·es
1. To occupy in an agreeable, pleasing, or entertaining fashion.
2. to read that somehow I'm working to undermine the new student tracking system ("Borderline Insanity," May). That's because I read the article en route to a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), formerly the Bureau of the Budget, is an agency of the federal government that evaluates, formulates, and coordinates management procedures and program objectives within and among departments and agencies of the Executive Branch. to speed the proposed regulation to implement the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS SEVIS Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (US Immigration and Naturalization Service) ), the new student tracking system. We have been working around the clock to get SEVIS operational as soon as possible. Moreover, in recent weeks INS has put forward a series of sensible measures that significantly tighten the foreign student process.
Contrary to the premise of the article, since Commissioner Jim Ziglar and I came to INS, the student tracking system has proceeded at its fastest pace to date. The regulation on student tracking was published on May 16, and schools will start being enrolled in SEVIS this summer. These facts undermine the whole point of the article.
Confessore's contention that when I worked on the Senate Immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. Subcommittee I was heavily involved in preventing the student tracking system that eventually became SEVIS is ridiculous. In four years, I spent perhaps six to eight hours total on this issue and even that involved the narrow issue of who collected the fee on foreign students--the schools or the Justice Department--not whether there should be a system or even what the system should do.
The contention that SEVIS is not as good as another potential approach is a matter of conjecture. The article references the pilot program called CIPRIS CIPRIS Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Students that the INS ran for two school years (1997-1999). The CIPRIS pilot was just that--a pilot--an opportunity to test some concepts. In fact, the INS applied what was learned from the pilot to SEVIS.
I declined to be interviewed for the article because I suspected an agenda and that's precisely what I found. The article also attributed to me an alleged statement about "Gestapo tactics" that I never made. That quotation came from a secondary source and was never verified with our public affairs Those public information, command information, and community relations activities directed toward both the external and internal publics with interest in the Department of Defense. Also called PA. See also command information; community relations; public information. office.
STUART ANDERSON Executive Associate Commissioner, Policy and Planning, Immigration and Naturalization Service
If it weren't so slanderous slan·der
1. Law Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation.
2. A false and malicious statement or report about someone.
v. , I would have found Nicholas Confessore's article a fascinating throwback throwback
see atavism. to the McCarthy era. The notion that NAFSA NAFSA National Association for Foreign Student Advisers (now Association of International Educators)
NAFSA North American Food Safety Associates ( Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) "sprang into action" in response to the 1996 law is laughable. Many of our members did have serious reservations about the student tracking system. Some, including one you quoted, "loved it." But when I took this job in February 1998, we were so consumed by this debate that springing into action about anything was impossible. Never during the INS's Maurice Berez's tenure running the foreign-student monitoring program did NAFSA take an official position.
I have never heard any member worry that a student tracking system would mean "fewer jobs for foreign student advisers," and I do not believe such fear exists. For the record, NAFSA never sought Berez's removal, and I never met with Commissioner Meissner on this or any other matter.
What united virtually every higher education higher education
Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. group against the $95 fee was opposition to the government's attempt to enlist universities as fee collectors.
Terrorists caused the events of September 11; universities and their "lobbyists" didn't.
MARLENE M. JOHNSON Executive Director and CEO, NAFSA
As members of the original CIPRIS task force, former members of the NAFSA Board of Directors, and individuals with substantial experience in international education, we can shed a bit more light on the topic raised in Confessore's article.
With the exception of a few factual errors, the article is substantially correct. NAFSA as an association was diametrically di·a·met·ri·cal also di·a·met·ric
1. Of, relating to, or along a diameter.
2. Exactly opposite; contrary.
di opposed to the original tracking system that CIPRIS was creating, working hard to postpone it, derail de·rail
intr. & tr.v. de·railed, de·rail·ing, de·rails
1. To run or cause to run off the rails.
2. it, and make it less accountable and therefore less effective. While a small core of leaders worked closely with Berez to develop a workable tracking system, most members and leaders of the association worked publicly against it, opposing the $95 fee and even the very concept of a tracking system. Finally, NAFSA members generally did not believe that there was a genuine threat that terrorists, using student visas, would attack the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . Their opposition provided a constant challenge to the original CIPRIS task force. In fact, a good deal of the task force's creative energy was spent trying to overcome the objections of the NAFSA membership. Unfortunately, NAFSA leadership remained unconvinced. Johnson took her cue from them and from the consensus of the association and did indeed lobby for Berez's removal from the project. It was an effective way of derailing the project.
Would CIPRIS have succeeded where previous INS attempts to monitor foreign students failed? Absolutely. Could CIPRIS have prevented the events of September 11? There is, of course, no way of knowing. But the program was designed to collect and monitor information that was instrumental to the tragedy--money and flight schools. Confessore's article provides a helpful glimpse into what became a costly public policy failure.
BERNARD E. LA BERGE Associate Dean, Modern College of Business and Science, Sultanate of Oman WILLIAM J. PAVER President, Foreign Credentials Service of America, Austin, Texas
Nicholas Confessore Nicholas Confessore is a reporter on the Metropolitan Desk of The New York Times covering Albany. He was previously an editor at Washington Monthly and a staff writer for The American Prospect. replies: Almost every thing in Anderson's letter is contradicted not just by my article, but also by the recent report of the Department of Justice's inspector General, which found that SEVIS has serious flaws and is unlikely to be up the date Anderson promises.
I made two errors of fact that should be corrected. Robert Bach does
not work at the Ford Foundation, but the Rockefeller Foundation--he performed a multiyear study of recent immigrants under a Ford grant during the early 1990s; hence my confusion. The other is the date of Maurice Berez's removal from the INS student-tracking project. An editing error leads the reader to believe he was removed in the fall of 1998. He left at the beginning of 2000.