Hundreds of Muslim Men Detained: CAIR Debates the Dept. of Justice

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Thu Dec 19 14:23:16 MST 2002


*****   December 18, 2002 on Democracy NOW!

Story: HUNDREDS OF MUSLIM MEN FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY HAVE BEEN
DETAINED AS THEY REGISTER WITH IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES UNDER NEW
GOVERNMENT ORDERS: THE COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS DEBATES
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

INS officials have detained hundreds of men from Muslim countries who
showed up at immigration offices to be registered under new
government orders.

As part of the USA Patriot Act, Congress told the Justice Department
to develop a system to track the comings and goings of foreign
visitors. The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or
NSEERS, was launched on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The program requires all men over 16 years old, from 18 countries, to
be registered, digitally photographed and fingerprinted. UPI reports
this is so investigators can determine whether the men fit the
profile of suspected terrorists.

The deadline for people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Sudan, was Monday.

The New York Times reports lines began to form before dawn on Monday
at the Los Angeles headquarters of the INS, as hundreds of immigrants
accompanied by anxious relatives and immigration lawyers showed up
for registration. Similar scenes played out across the country.

INS officials have handcuffed and detained hundreds of people who
showed up to be fingerprinted over the past week. In Los Angeles on
Friday, officials actually ran out of plastic handcuffs as they
herded men into the basement lockup of the federal building,
according to the Times. The men had expired student or work visas, or
couldn't provide adequate documentation of their immigration status.

The situation is worse for those who fail to report: they face
criminal charges and immediate expulsion from the country. In San
Diego yesterday, one day after the deadline, radio station KFMB
reported fifty men had been arrested for failing to register.

One immigration lawyer who used to work for the State Department told
The New York Times the program compares with the roundups of Germans
during World War I and the internment of the Japanese during World
War II.

The roundup is expected to intensify. By January 10, men from the
following countries must report to immigration officials:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman,
Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the
only non-Muslim country on the list: North Korea.

And on Monday, the Justice Department announced that men from
Armenia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia must also report. They have until
Feb. 21. But Armenians have already been taken off the list.

Guests:

Jason Erb, director of Governmental Affairs for the Council on
American-Islamic Relations.
Jorge Martinez, spokesperson for Department of Justice.
Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee
of America.
May Shallah Kheder, Iraqi-American immigration attorney in Virginia.

[Listen to the story at
<http://stream.realimpact.net/rihurl.ram?file=webactive/demnow/dn20021218.ra&start=29:39.6>.]

Related links:

Council on American-Islamic Relations [@ <http://www.cair-net.org/>]
Armenian National Committee of America [@ <http://www.anca.org/>]

<http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20021218.html>   *****

--
Yoshie

* Calendar of Events in Columbus:
<http://www.osu.edu/students/sif/calendar.html>
* Anti-War Activist Resources: <http://www.osu.edu/students/sif/activist.html>
* Student International Forum: <http://www.osu.edu/students/sif/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osu.edu/students/CJP/>

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