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Bush: Visa policies to get tighter

Bush: "Our job now is to find the evil ones and bring them to justice."  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush vowed Monday to "tighten up" loopholes in immigration policies that he said have allowed terrorists to slip into this country and attack U.S. citizens.

"Our job now is to find the evil ones and bring them to justice," the president said during the first meeting of his homeland security team.

Bush said authorities would check on immigrants who enter the United States on student visas to make sure they actually attend school.

"We're going to start asking a lot of question that heretofore have not been asked," Bush said as he announced the creation of the Foreign Terrorists Tracking Task Force.

Anyone found in violation of a visa, Bush said, "will be escorted out of the United States."

At least nine of the 19 suspected hijackers implicated in the September 11 terrorist plot entered the country legally on visas -- many of them student visas. That date, Bush said, provided a lesson to the country.

"We welcome people coming to America. We welcome the process that encourages people to come to our country to visit, to study, to work," the president said.

"What we don't welcome is people who come to hurt the American people. So, therefore, we are going be very diligent with our visas and observant with the behavior of people who come to this country."

At an earlier briefing, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer dismissed the suggestion that the task force's eventual recommendations would promote the idea of profiling -- targeting individuals based on their race or ethnic background

"I think it promotes the idea of catching terrorists, and that will be the goal of this task force," Fleischer said.


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