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U.S. improving student visa checks after problems with Kazakhstan student

04 may 2013, 16:29
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Defendants Dias Kadyrbayev (L) and Azamat Tazhayakov are pictured in a courtroom sketch at the John Joseph Moakley United States Federal Courthouse in Boston. ©REUTERS
Defendants Dias Kadyrbayev (L) and Azamat Tazhayakov are pictured in a courtroom sketch at the John Joseph Moakley United States Federal Courthouse in Boston. ©REUTERS
©REUTERS
©REUTERS
The United States are working to improve student visa checks by border agents after Kazakhstan student Azamat Tazhayakov suspected of obstructing justice in the investigation against Tsarnaev over Boston bomings entered the country on invalid visa, RIA Novosti writes citing the speaker of the U.S. Homeland Security Department Peter Boogaard.

Azamat Tazhayakov had a student visa valid until August 30, 2013, but his visa was terminated when he arrived in New York on January 20 because he withdrew from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on January 4. But border agents in airports had no access to the Homeland Security Department's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) so they had no knowledge of the termination when they admitted Tazhayakov into the country.

“As a result he was admitted into the country based on his visa validity period. There was no information that he could have posed any threat,” a source told the news agency. The official also reminded that when a student visa turned invalid after a student was expelled from a university, he or she was given 30 days to solve the situation.

American authorities will now step up checks of all the students arriving to the United States.
The order was issued a day after the Obama Administration found out that the breach led to admission of Tazhayakov into the country. All the border agents will have access to the SEVIS database within one week.

"The department will modernize the student visas database, so that customs and border services have access to updated information in a real time,” he said.

Azamat Tazhayakov and another Kazakhstan student Dias Kadyrbayev were arrested for alleged violation of U.S. immigration regulations on April 20. They were detained by the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement at the Suffolk County House of Corrections in Boston. But no visa regime violation charges have been presented to them so far.

Instead, after the FBI started looking into Tsarnaev's connections they were found to have communicated with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in text messages, and were presented with the criminal charges of obstructing investigation by tempering with evidences. They are not suspected of being involved in the bombings or the preparations.

They knew the younger Tsarnaev because they were classmates and spoke the same language - Russian - that is not that common in the United States. They heedlessly took a backpack of fireworks and a laptop from Tsarnaev's dormitory after Dzhokhar texted them inviting them over. Dzhokhar told them he no longer needed the things and they, most likely had no knowledge of those being evidence in the Boston bombings case.

Their lawyers said they were shocked to find out their friend was involved and were fully cooperating with the authorities. Their fathers said none of them were radical Islamists or even committed Muslims. None of them had any criminal record, or all their teachers' reports said they were normal teens.

“There is no way I can contact him. All the information I get comes from the media or from the attorney and the ministry representative. I am sure that boys are cooperating and assisting the investigation. I very much hope that American justice authorities will straighten things out and it would be proved that our children are not guilty of any crime,” Murat Kadyrbayev, father of Dias told Tengrinews.kz in an exclusive interview.

Two bombs exploded one after another near the finish line of the Boston Marathon near Copley Square on April 15, turning the celebration into a bloody scene of destruction. The attack claimed 3 lives and injured 144 people. The U.S. police apprehended the first suspect Tamerlan Tsarnayev in Watertown. He later died in the hospital because of numerous injuries. The operation on apprehension of his brother Dzhohar lasted for 15 hours. According to media, Dzhohar Tsarnayev was wounded in the neck and leg and was hospitalized.

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