ACLU of Northern California Calls for Government to Halt Special Registration Program

November 20, 2003 12:00 am

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Tens of Thousands are Required to Re-Register or Face Possible Deportation


SAN FRANCISCO -The America Civil Liberties Union of Northern California today asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to put a halt to the government’s Special Registration Program that singles out Arab, Muslim, and South Asian men and boys. The ACLU also called for Congress to step in and halt the controversial program.

Under the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program, individuals are required to annually re-register or face potential deportation or criminal penalties. As a result of last year’s Special Registration Program — which was carried out in four phases — 13,740 men and boys have been placed in deportation proceedings, punishing the very people who have chosen to comply with the government’s program. Of those, none were publicly charged with terrorism. In its second year, the problems with the program are magnified by the government’s failure to adequately notify those who are required to re-register.

“By failing to adequately notify men who registered last year, it seems clear that the government is setting up a trap which will make thousands of Arab, South Asian, and Muslim immigrants vulnerable to deportation,” said Jayashri Srikantiah, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU of Northern California. “The ACLU is not aware of any individualized notice, or community outreach and effort, on the part of the government, to widely announce or explain the requirement to these communities.”

The reported 83,310 men and boys from 24 predominantly Muslim nations who registered with the government last year included students, businessmen and visitors legally in this country.

“The federal government is targeting people based on religion, ethnicity and race, not individualized suspicion,” added Srikantiah. “This program is alienating and creating fear in the very communities our government needs to work with.”

For more information about Special Registration, go to /node/22232

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