In the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedies, America is being more protective of its citizens. Or is that just what they the government wants us to believe?
With all that has erupted in the past two months, the government, in a concerned and legal effort, is trying to deter any further terrorist attacks from occurring. One act of prevention the government is taking is interviewing Middle Eastern students, especially those attending American colleges and universities on student visas.
According to the New York Times article “In Sweeping Campus Canvasses, U.S. Checks on Mideast Students,” by Jacques Steinberg, “federal investigators have contacted administrators on more than 200 college campuses to collect information about students from Middle Eastern countries.”
The article goes on to say “agents have asked what subjects the students are studying, whether they are performing well and where they are living.” Agents have also questioned students’ views on Osama bin Laden.
This action, though, leaves academic universities and institutions between a rock and a hard place.
Steinberg’s article said, “The investigation’s have put universities in a difficult position, pitting the government’s interest in security against the institutions’ desire to protect students’ privacy and to avoid engaging in racial profiling.”
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Immigration and Naturalization Service are well within their legal rights to interview students. It is not illegal to question students, but is rather inconsiderate.
By interrogating students, the government is not acting objectively. It has already suspected these students, whether mentally or verbally, of some wrongdoing or possible collaboration with bin Laden, himself.
While the government’s actions may seem inconsiderate, some Americans feel it is a necessary precaution to aid in preventing any more terrorist attacks. But other Americans feel that if the government continues with these interrogations, where or when will it stop?
One bit of advice: Before you decide whether to support the government’s actions, sit back and think about how you would feel if you were automatically suspected of a crime just because someone of your nationality committed a crime. Now, think about how the person feels, who you see in the Student Center, Paley Library or even in class.