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Republicans: Universities should monitor international students

February 04, 2002
By: Kathryn Handley
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Colleges and universities would be required to track international students' enrollment under a Republican anti-terrorism bill currently being drafted.

"Immigration was a contributing factor to Sept. 11," said Rep. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, who is involved in drafting the bill. "Many of those who were terrorists came on student visas."

The bill would require colleges and universities to inform the proper authorities if an international student was no longer enrolled or failed to pay tuition.

Bearden, who will likely be the bill's sponsor, said the proposal is "not a violation of civil liberties at all."

He said international students are here for the specific purpose of attending school, and if they're not doing that, authorities should know.

Crowell said tracking foreign students' status would require little effort from universities.

"We're just asking them to put another column in a spreadsheet," he said.

Bearden and House Minority L eader Rep. Catherine Hanaway, R-Warson Woods, said they are concerned that House Speaker Jim Kreider, D-Nixa, may prevent a vote on the bill by not referring it to a committee.

Hanaway said Kreider has referred 281 Democratic bills to committees but only 70 Republican proposals.

"I think it's a very definite political bias," Bearden said.

The anti-terrorism package would also enforce stiffer penalties for crimes associated with terrorism, apply the death penalty to terrorist acts resulting in death, and tighten computer security by instituting criminal penalties for spreading viruses.

Bearden said House Republicans should have a draft ready by the end of the week.