Ashcroft Announces Immigration Crackdown Measures

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:20 PM EDT

( - "Supporters of terrorism, you are not welcome here. And if you develop that characteristic after you get here, as an alien, you will be asked to leave." That was the message Attorney General John Ashcroft had Wednesday for immigrants who might become sympathetic terrorist causes.

He announced the establishment of a new foreign terrorist tracking task force, headed by Steve McCraw, currently deputy assistant director of the intelligence division of the investigative services division of the FBI.

The task force will "facilitate communication and coordination among the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service), FBI and Customs service" and other agencies. It will also encourage them to share critical information about potential terrorists to prevent future attacks.

Ashcroft said the new security measures will also include the revision of "non-immigrant visas," which will provide more biographical data for the INS. It will also be helpful, he said, to the FBI, INS and CIA to "use as starting points to conduct further investigations before visas are issued."

Ashcroft also said they have designated 46 terrorist groups whose members and supporters will be banned from entering the country.

"We will detain, prosecute, and deport terrorist aliens who are already inside the national border," he said. "America will not allow terrorists to use our hospitality as a weapon against us."

Ashcroft likened the war on terrorism with the war on organized crime during the Kennedy administration.

"In the war on terror, it is the policy of this Justice Department to be equally aggressive. We will arrest and detain any suspected terrorist who has violated the law," he said.

"If suspects are found not to have links to terrorism, or not to have violated the law, they'll be released. But terrorists who are violation of the law will be convicted, in some cases be deported, and in all cases be prevented from doing further harm to Americans."

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