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[Congressional Record: September 14, 2001 (House)]
[Page H5698-H5699]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

  Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to take from the 
Speaker's table the Senate bill (S. 1424) to amend the Immigration and 
Nationality Act to provide permanent authority for the admission of 
``S'' visa nonimmigrants, and ask for its immediate consideration in 
the House.
  The Clerk read the title of the Senate bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania?
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, 
and I will not object, I yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Gekas) for a comment on the bill.
  Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding to me.
  Mr. Speaker, this issue comes before us at a very appropriate time. 
It was about 2 days ago, maybe 3 days ago now considering the time is 
after midnight, authority ran out for our government, through the 
Attorney General, to be able to bring in alien witnesses for cases 
involving terrorists, of

[[Page H5699]]

all things; meaning that when the Attorney General, the Justice 
Department, and the intelligence communities of our government were 
able to mount a case against terrorists, so appropriate in view of the 
events of the past week, that they could bring in people with special 
information under what was called the ``S'' visa, a special program to 
permit aliens to come in for the specific purpose of providing 
information and testifying, as it were, in these cases constructed by 
our Justice Department against terrorists.
  That authority has run out, and it ran out almost immediately after 
the events took place in the Pentagon and in New York. So we have to 
reinstate it as fast as possible. That is why we are here tonight, 
because now it becomes even more urgent that we be in a position to be 
able to authorize the Attorney General to continue building the cases 
against these new terrorists now and others yet to come, we hope not, 
which we will do everything we can to prevent, but we must reinstate 
the authority for these special visas, these ``S'' visas that would 
permit this extra arm of law enforcement to work its will.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Continuing to reserve my reservation of 
objection, Mr. Speaker, let me thank the gentleman for bringing this 
important initiative to the floor of the House tonight, particularly 
with the great need that we have. It is obvious that we are in a time 
deep of sorrow.
  And Congress continues and will continue to seek all possible avenues 
which would help provide assistance to the American public in our time 
of need.
  This legislation, as the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Gekas), the 
chairman has indicated, is appropriate as the U.S. attorney and the 
Attorney General are looking to bring solution to the heinous acts that 
occurred this week.
  The Violent Crime Control Act of 1994 created the ``S'' nonimmigrant 
visa classification. We need to restore this visa which expired on 
September 12, 2001. Without this legislation, law enforcement will not 
be able to bring in foreign nationals who may be able to provide their 
needed information. It is well known that the search for the 
perpetrators of the heinous acts that occurred on September 11, 2001, 
is an international search.
  Right now, the number of visas to bring in individuals are limited, 
200 visas are for those who provide critical information about crimes. 
Fifty visas are specifically devoted to those who can provide critical 
information about terrorism. An application for the ``S'' visa must be 
made by a Federal, State or local law enforcement agency or by a court, 
and once an individual enters on an ``S'' visa, he or she is admitted 
for the purpose of cooperating with law enforcement.
  This is crucial inasmuch as our Attorney General and all of the 
additional officials are looking to bring some resolution, great 
resolution to this enormous tragedy. These visas are particularly 
necessary because many of these people are in danger in their home 
countries after they have cooperated with an investigation or testified 
in a criminal proceeding.
  There is much that this Nation has to do to, ultimately, in our 
future to bring closure to the terrible loss of life. In order to do 
this expeditiously, we need the insight of these individuals around the 
world who will come and testify and bring evidence so that we can put 
an end to these evil acts.
  This legislation, I believe, is important, and so the objection that 
I have expressed is one that I am willingly now prepared to withdraw 
and ask that my colleagues do support this legislation so that we can 
move expeditiously in what we need to do to solve the terrible acts 
that occurred this week.
  Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my reservation of objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Shimkus). Is there objection to the 
request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania?
  There was no objection.
  The Clerk read the Senate bill, as follows:
       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       Section 214(k) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
     U.S.C. 1184(k)) is amended--
       (1) by striking (2);
       (2) by redesignating paragraphs (3), (4), and (5) as 
     paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), respectively; and
       (3) in paragraph (4)(E) (as redesignated), by striking 
     ``paragraph (4)'' and inserting'' paragraph (3)''.

  The Senate bill was ordered to be read a third time, was read the 
third time, and passed, and a motion to reconsider was laid on the