DAmato calls for U.S. ban on members of Hamas

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Concerned about Hamas activists' ability to slip into the United States unnoticed, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.) has introduced legislation that would ban any Hamas member from this country.

D'Amato's legislation, known as the Hamas Exclusion Act of 1995, comes in the wake of the recent detention of leading Hamas activist Musa Muhammad Abu Marzook as he tried to re-enter the United States.

Israel seeks to extradite Marzook from the United States.

Under current U.S. immigration law, many Hamas activists, including Marzook, are banned from entering the country for other violations, including suspected terrorist activities.

D'Amato hopes to streamline the process, excluding any Hamas member on the grounds of membership in the militant Islamic group, he said in a statement.

"The United States cannot be a haven for those who belong to terrorist organizations whose entire reason is to kill, maim and bring suffering to innocent men, women and children," D'Amato said in the statement.

A similar measure failed to gain support in Congress two years ago.

Congressional aides expressed hope that this time around, the measure would meet a better fate as it advances to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

No hearing date has yet been scheduled.

Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) introduced a similar bill in the House before Congress adjourned for its August recess two weeks ago.