Bill to Create New Visa Category Gets Endorsement

Bill to Create New Visa Category Gets Endorsement
By Charles Dervarics

Congress may yet finish work this year on a bill to help part-time students from Mexico and Canada who want to take courses at U.S. colleges.

The House in mid-October approved a bill to create a new visa category for these students, who find themselves unable to study at U.S. institutions due to recent crackdowns in immigration laws. For years, these students were permitted to study without a formal student visa, which requires full-time study and proof of financial assets. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, however, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service said it would begin enforcing a law requiring such students to have visas.

The House bill from Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., is critical for many two- and four-year colleges in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and the Pacific Northwest, where students otherwise may have to be turned away from classes ranging from English to technology.

House action now sends the bill to the Senate, where Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, has introduced similar legislation.

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