Mr. CRANSTON. Mr. President, I am gald to join my good friend from Massachusetts [Mr. Kerry] in introducing the International Narcotics and Terrorism Control Act of 1989. The results of the hearings and investigations conducted by the Subcommittee on Narcotics and Terrorism of the Committee on Foreign Relations during the last 2 years indicate that the problem of international drug trafficking is indeed serious. It is clear that we need to take steps to encourage cooperation among our Federal agencies involved in drug-interdiction activities and the State Department, as well as to encourage other countries to cooperate with us in our war on drugs.
The report of the subcommittee does much to explain how the lack of cooperation between the State Department and other law enforcement agencies has hampered efforts to stop the flow of drugs into our country. The legislation we are introducing today would provide some practical solutions to this problem which I believe will make our international drug-interdiction activities more effective.
With regard to those provisions in this legislation which are intended to encourage the cooperation of other countries with our drug-control efforts, I generally agree that the President should be authorized to impose optional sanctions--short of the mandatory sanctions authorized under current law--on those countries which refuse to cooperate with us. However, I have reservations about particular proposed sanctions.
For example, I am concerned that imposing the sanction which entails the denial or limitation of visas or border crossing cards to nonimmigrant nationals of a noncooperating country might unduly restrict legitimate travel from these countries. I do not believe that it is in our country's interest to deny visas to temporary workers, students, international organization personnel, foreign press, and other nonimmigrants from these countries when there is no evidence that these categories of nonimmigrants have been involved in drug-trafficking activities. Even in the case of visas issued to nonimmigrant tourists, where there is evidence of some abuse by drug traffickers, I believe that safeguards must be put in place to assure that legitimate travel is not impeded by this sanction. I am glad to see that the Senator from Massachusetts recognizes this problem, and I look forward to working with him to resolve this issue when this legislation is considered in committee.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that this legislation is necessary to increase the effectiveness of our drug-control efforts. The continuous supply of drugs into this country has created a crisis situation, and we must take all necessary steps to assure that our international drug-control strategy is effective. For these reasons, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.