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Problems Persist With U.S. Visas

To avoid red tape, will foreign students and scholars steer clear of the United States?

4 min read

Whenever he leaves the United States, whether to do research or on vacation, Zia Mian, a nuclear arms control expert at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School (Princeton, N.J.) has to depart from an airport or port designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. After checking in, he gets fingerprinted. Within 30 to 40 days of his return, he is supposed to report to the nearest immigration office and get fingerprinted again. The security routine is required because Mian, although raised and educated in the UK, was born in Pakistan.

Mian is not alone, of course. The fingerprinting is part of a raft of new security measures imposed after 9/11 that affect the hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who come to the United States each year to study, attend scholarly meetings, and conduct research. The measures include mandatory, in-person interviews with a U.S. consular officer prior to receiving or renewing a visa, and background checks for those studying topics deemed to pose a security risk, which includes many areas in the physical sciences, engineering, and computer science.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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