OTHERS

Justice Dept. for ban on 46 groups

WASHINGTON, NOV. 1. The U.S. Justice Department has asked the State Department to name 46 terrorist organisations whose members and affiliates will not be allowed to enter the country.

``America will not allow terrorists to use our hospitality as a weapon against us,'' the Attorney-General, Mr. John Ashcroft said. He said the move was a warning to terrorists that they were not welcome in the U. S. The focus on immigration rules is partly due to the fact that 15 out of the 19 terrorists who hijacked the planes on September 11 had applied for visas in Saudi Arabia. Nearly 200 persons have been detained in the aftermath of the attacks on Washington and New York for immigration irregularities. The Justice Department has said that intelligence will be increased and intensive checks done on individuals to keep out terrorists, suspected terrorists and those who sympathise with the cause of terrorism.

The Bush administration is working simultaneously to tighten immigration policies and some of the focus is on student visas. Many of the hijackers came to the U.S. on student visas but did not register in the institution they had sought admission.

At least one of them is said to have come to this country to learn English. In the last several years lawmakers successfully blocked the efforts of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service to keep a watch on the entry and movement of foreign students within this country saying it would be an invasion of privacy. Now lawmakers in the House of Representatives and the Senate are separately working on tightening laws or coming up with new ones that will give broad and sweeping powers to the INS.

While part of the focus is on students coming into the U.S., the other has to do with ferreting out those who may have abused the visas, dropped out of school or managed to disperse without finishing their degrees. Officials say under the present tracking system there is no way of detecting how widespread the abuse of the student visa system is. While tightening the immigration system, officials are making the point that those who play by the rules have nothing to be fear. At the same time, the message from the President has been that this time around the United States means business.

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