This just in from
Elizabeth Barker Brandt,
Professor, University of Idaho College of Law:
Subject: 120 armed FBI agents stage pre-dawn visa raid at Univ. of Idaho
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 13:15:20 -1000
The following letter was forwarded to SEVIS, and is chilling testimony to the campaign of fear and intimidation on university campuses.
Information shared by universities through the SEVIS tracking system enable the INS, FBI and CIA to carry out such crimes. Send copies of this letter to
your International Student Services, and your administration! Put it in your campus newspaper! This raid conveniently happened in a small town
where it is difficult to build a strong movement in support of immigrants and international students. We'll keep you posted.
From: Prof. Elizabeth Brandt from Univ. of Idaho:
Well, yesterday was an exciting day in my small town. The FBI flew in 120 agents, fully armed in riot gear, on two C-17 military aircraft (I
think -- they were BIG planes) to Moscow Idaho (population 17,000 +/-) to arrest one Saudi graduate student for visa fraud. The raid went
down in University of Idaho student housing at 4:30 a.m. in the morning, terrorizing not only the suspect's family (he lived in student
housing with his wife and three elementary school age children) but also the families of neighboring students who were awakened by the
shouting and lights and were required to remain in their homes until after 8:30 a.m. At least 20 other students who had the misfortune to either know the
suspect or to have some minor immigration irregularities were also subjected to substantial, surprise interrogations (4+ hours) although
none were detained or arrested yesterday. Now, however, a witch hunt for additional unamed suspects who supposedly helped the guy who was
arrested is on.
The INS and FBI are working together using gestapo tactics to question the students -- threatening their immigration status (and
hence their education) if they don't answer questions which are really aimed at the criminal investigation. They have also threatened their partners
and spouses with perjury charges if they don't talk.
I spent yesterday working with our immigration clinic director and local criminal defense attorneys to organize legal representation for
the students who are being swept into the hunt for co-conspiritors. We have reached out to our entire area (40 -mile radius) to find enough
attorneys. Now I'm working on getting resources and support to them.
The Saudi government is providing financial support.
Reading about this stuff is one thing. Having it in your backyard is another. The international students at the University of Idaho are
terrorized and scared.
Elizabeth Barker Brandt
University of Idaho College of Law