WASHINGTON D.C. (CBS4) – Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson has been joined by four other U.S. Senators in calling for a crackdown on phony colleges which sell student visas to foreigners who wish to enter the U.S. illegally.

Nelson, along with Sens. Charles Schumer, John Tester, Diane Feinstein and Clair McCaskill have called on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Homeland Security to share information so they can identify the fake colleges involved in selling illegal student visas.

“Sham universities are not real institutions of higher learning, but rather operate solely for the purpose of manipulating immigration law to admit foreign nationals into the country,” the senators stated in the letter released Sunday. “When the student visa program can be manipulated by bad actors, it threatens the viability of the entire program for the large majority of bona fide participants.”

They also note that several of the Sept. 11 terrorists entered the United States.

The senators have asked that the federal departments determine “high-risk factors” within 90 days and conduct site visits at schools that show a high risk factor.  The senators also seek stiffer penalties for “sham universities” that engage in student visa fraud.


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