Nov 5 2001
Bush For Tightening Visa Restrictions
Washington - (AP) President Bush moved to tighten restrictions on Foreign student visas as a part of an effort to bar the entry of immigrants who commit or support terrorism.
Bush was directing top aides to study the foreign student visa system and develop recommendations for tighter controls. Several of the 19 hijackers who crashed planes on Sept. 11 entered the United States legally with the kinds of visas routinely granted each year to thousands of foreign students.
Some lawmakers have called for tighter controls on U.S. visas in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and have proposed a six-month moratorium on new foreign student visas until a system for tracking them can be implemented. Bush was stopping short of that step an aide said.
Bush also planned to announce creation of a foreign terrorist tracking force that would coordinate efforts by government agencies to keep those with links to terror organizations out of the country, and locate, detain, prosecute or deport terror group associates who already live here, said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.
Bush announced the task force during a meeting of his Domestic Security Council. Tom Ridge, director of Bush's Office of Homeland Security, said Attorney General John Ashcroft will lead the task force and will look at all aspects of foreigners' access to the United States. The task force will be to look at all options, all policies and procedures relating to access of non-citizens to this country. The session will be the first chaired by Bush since the council’s creation in the wake of Sept 11 attacks, Ridge said.
Fleischer refused to offer more details on the task force or say which agencies would work with it. But those involved, he said, will be directed by Bush to “work together to locate, detain, prosecute or deport any aliens who are already here who may be engaging in terrorism” said White House spokesman.