Congress pledges swift action on measures aimed at terrorism COPING WITH TRAGEDY

April 21, 1995|By Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON -- Whatever the results of the exhaustive investigation into the deadly car bombing in Oklahoma City, sweeping legislation aimed at international terrorism will be pushed through Congress shortly after it reconvenes May 1.

Although authorities have not fixed blame on any foreign group for the attack, the proposed measures are expected to include new sanctions for legal migrants who overstay their visas and less liberal granting of political asylum to foreign refugees, among other provisions.

President Clinton's Anti-Terrorist Act of 1995 will provide a starting point for the Republican-controlled Congress, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde, an Illinois Republican, promises swift action on the measure.

"Our task is to devise a legislative response [to terrorism] that is adequate, effective and within the parameters of the Constitution," Mr. Hyde said yesterday, hinting that he might move the bill to the House floor without hearings.

The Clinton administration's proposal, introduced earlier this year, would prohibit fund raising for groups identified as dangerous by the president; allow for the freezing of assets belonging to such groups; and grant the FBI broader wire-tap powers. It would change procedures for deporting foreign-born individuals "certified" by the White House as having ties to international terrorist groups, allowing such individuals in some cases to be sent home on the basis of evidence known only to the government.

The measure also would restrict the sale, manufacture and transfer of nuclear materials, plastic explosives and various toxic chemicals, including nerve gas.

Mr. Hyde says that his revamped bill would enforce greater restrictions on visas and applications for political asylum.

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