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U.S. Department
of State

Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 3, 2003

QUESTION: As of Saturday, the INS, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, goes into a group, you know, headed by Secretary Tom Ridge, Homeland Defense, and over the weekend, BBC reported on immigrants that -- from some countries, notably Pakistan,
have been trying to flee up toward New York state, New Hampshire and Vermont, attempting to go to Canada and are being at least sheltered by the Salvation Army. Do you have any comment? And how will you be -- any differences in working with Homeland Security as opposed to the INS?

MR. BOUCHER: The law that created Homeland Security changes a little bit, clarifies a bit, the legal responsibilities with regard to admission of aliens, issuance of visas and things like that. It gives us a common set of rules that we can all work under. So that's something that we've talked about before and look forward to. Gives us a centralized point also, for sharing information on visas and aliens and people who come to the United States. As far as the situation of people in the United States, Pakistanis and others, I think you've seen from the immigration service some flexibility in the way they apply their rules, and some clarification on how those rules would be applied. This has been a matter of discussion with a number of foreign governments, including with the Pakistani foreign minister when he came a few weeks ago. And so we've relayed those concerns and been in touch with the immigration service, but in the end, it's they that will describe the rules and the application of those rules to you.

QUESTION: On that, immigration, and this may be an INS question. Do you know anything about Stalin's great-grandson applying for political asylum here?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't know anything, and since we don't comment on individual asylum cases, I wouldn't be able to say if I did.

QUESTION: I'm aware of that, I just had to ask the question. Also, back to the UN Security Council. Are you in a position to say that the State Department in its diplomatic efforts would reject any kind of information coming from national technical means, sources, in its efforts to win votes on the Security Council for a second resolution on Iraq?

[ ... ]



Released on March 3, 2003