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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 29, 2001
Fact Sheet on Increasing Immigration Safeguards and Improving Vital Information Sharing
TODAY'S PRESIDENTIAL ACTION
- President Bush convened the first formal meeting of the full Homeland Security Council (HSC).
- The President took another step in the fight against terrorism by issuing a Presidential Directive to improve immigration policies and practices and make it more difficult for terrorists to enter or remain in the United States.
ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S ACTION TO TIGHTEN IMMIGRATION POLICIES
- Improving legal immigration remains a priority for the Bush Administration, but the Bush Administration is committed to ensuring that our immigration policies and practices do not allow terrorists to enter or remain in the United States.
- To increase immigration safeguards and improve vital information sharing between federal agencies, President Bush issued a new Homeland Security Presidential Directive to help combat terrorism through more effective immigration policies and practices.
- Among its key features, the Presidential Directive:
- Creates a Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task
Force: The Task Force will coordinate Federal programs designed
to: (1) deny entry into the U.S. of aliens associated with,
suspected of being engaged in or supporting terrorist activity; and (2)
locate, detain, prosecute, or deport any such aliens already present in
the U.S. The Task Force will be established by the Attorney
General by November 1. Experts from the State Department,
FBI, INS, Secret Service, Customs Service and the intelligence
community will serve on the Task Force.
- Orders a Thorough Review of Student Visa Policies: International students add greatly to the vitality and quality of our nation's colleges, universities and other institutions of learning. The Presidential Directive orders the Secretary of State and the Attorney General -- working with the Secretary of Education, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Energy and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) -- to institute tighter controls and ensure that student visas are being issued appropriately. A goal of the program is to prohibit the education and training of foreign nationals who would use their training to harm the United States and its Allies.
- Better Coordinates Immigration and Customs Policies with Canada and Mexico: Millions of people and billions of dollars of goods move legally between the United States, Canada and Mexico each year. The United States seeks to deny potential terrorists easy entry into the country from Canada or Mexico, while ensuring that legal travel and commerce continues with minimal border restrictions. The Directive orders the Secretaries of State and Treasury and the Attorney General to increase the sharing of customs and immigration information with Canada and Mexico, and work with our neighbors to develop a shared immigration and customs control database. These efforts will ensure the maximum possible compatibility of immigration, customs and visa policies.
The Presidential Directive also:
- Directs the Attorney General and Secretary of the Treasury to enhance the investigative and intelligence analysis capabilities of the INS and the Customs Service, and to increase INS and Customs special agent personnel assigned to Joint Terrorism Task Forces
- Directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy to work with the Attorney General and the Director of Central Intelligence to make recommendations on advanced technology that could be used to aid immigration enforcement
- Directs the Office of Management and Budget to work with the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security to develop a budgetary plan to support this effort