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College Students, Beware of Cutting Classes: Ins Jails and Threatens to Deport Foreign Students for Taking Less Than 12 Credits of Courses

StoryJanuary 23, 2003
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Across the country hundreds of thousands of college students are returning from winter break.

Yashar Zendehdel almost wasn’t one them.

The Iranian-born student is a junior at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is majoring in economics.

Last spring he dropped his course load from 14 credits to 10 credits. For that he was arrested, jailed and almost deported.

Because he was an Iranian on a student visa, in early December he was required to register with the INS. When INS agents examined Yashar Zendehdel’s school record they found a problem. He wasn’t in any academic or disciplinary trouble. He also had no criminal record. And his immigration paperwork was fine. His problem was that he took less than 12 credits of classes last spring. Under new INS regulations that is now a deportable offense.

At least five other foreign-born students in Colorado were jailed last month on similar grounds.


  • Yashar Zendehdel, a junior economics major from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He was one of at least six Middle Eastern college students studying in Colorado who were jailed in December for failing to take enough college classes.

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