Five U.S. senators are calling for a federal crackdown on what they say are phony colleges handing out student visas to potential criminals and terrorists.
Sens. Diane Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Charles Schumer of New York say the colleges are fronts for people who pay to illegally enter the United States.
The Democrats are calling on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Homeland Security to share information that could help identify the fake colleges.
The senators note several of the Sept. 11 terrorists entered the United States on student visas. They also cite recent incidents in California and in Florida where schools have been accused of being involved in the illegal visa scheme.
The senators will ask the federal departments to determine “high-risk factors” within 90 days and conduct site visits at schools that show a high risk factor through data — or the lack of data — that legitimate schools must provide to the federal government. The senators also seek stiffer penalties for “sham universities” that engage in student visa fraud.