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The White House, President George W. Bush

[ ... ]

Q Ari, two quick questions. Now the administration will list two more countries on the list of 18 -- makes 20 -- that all the foreigners must register with the Justice Department if they visit the United States. Now, some scientists and some companies are worried also that when they have conferences here, they said that when they invite people that visas may not be issued so they might have removed their conferences out of the United States, and that will not serves the purpose of their conference.

And also some people are saying that as far as Muslims are concerned in this country that actually -- (inaudible) -- that they are being discriminated because of their religion. One person even said that he, being a Muslim in India, he was not even as (inaudible) as here in the United States. Where do we go from there?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think what you are saying, Goyle, is that the government is reacting very strongly to the events of September 11th to make sure that we do things. One is, respect the rights of immigrants and visitors to come to our nation. We are a better nation, in the President's judgment, as a result of having people visit the United States. We want to do so in a way that protects the American people and all those who would visit here. Terrorist actions don't only kill Americans on our soil, they kill foreigners who are visiting our soil or who are temporarily residing on our soil, as we saw on the attack on the World Trade Center. Many foreign citizens were killed in that attack.

And so we are taking actions to make certain that people come to the United States and that we welcome them to the United States, but we do so in a way that is protective of our citizens and our guests.

[ ... ]

Q Can I ask on behalf of the reporters if you could explain simply why the White House won't comment on a debate over who might lead the President's party in the Senate?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President has a great deal of respect for all senators, including Senator Lott. And the President views this as a matter of he will speak out to help the nation make progress and the issues dealing with race. He will continue to advocate the policies that I walked through earlier, to help advance racial relations and improving some racial relations in the United States, just as he did in Texas, similar to what he did -- and I recall, I believe it was in 1996, when he spoke out about the need for the Republican Party, immigration, to be a nation that welcomes immigrants to our country. I know there were some in the Republican Party who spoke about the need to shut our nation's borders to immigrants.

The President will continue to focus on the policies that he thinks makes America a richer and better place. And that's why he said what he said. And beyond that, the President is not going to comment on a matter that is -- a matter that numerous senators have indicated that they want to take a look at. There are prerogatives that are available to the Senate to pursue and the President respects the senators who have ideas and he respects Senator Lott -- Senator Lott is a friend. And I leave it at that.

[ ... ]

END 1:44 P.M. EST

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