National Security Entry-Exit Registration System
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The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) or INS Special Registration is a system for registering certain non-citizens within the United States, initiated in September 2002 as part of the War on Terrorism. Portions were suspended as of April 27th, 2011. This system has two separate components: port-of-entry registration and domestic registration. In each case, those who register are fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated. They are required to provide detailed information about their plans and to update Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if their plans change. They are only permitted to enter and depart the U.S. through designated ports of entry.
Port-of-entry registration is required for nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria (including those that were born in these countries but have a passport from a different country).[when?] Any other non-citizen, non-permanent residents determined in advance by the United States Department of State or the INS, or as they enter the country by INS inspectors. This system began on September 10, 2002.
Certain non-citizens who were in the United States prior to September 10, 2002, have been required to register in person at an INS office. This procedure is required of males over the age of sixteen who entered the United States legally on particular types of visa (primarily student, work, and tourist) from certain countries. Countries were named on four occasions:
- Group 1: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria
- Group 2: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen
- Group 3: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia
- Group 4: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait
The deadlines for registration were December 16, 2002 (Group 1), January 10, 2003 (Group 2), February 21, 2003 (Group 3), March 28, 2003 (Group 4). The deadlines for Group 1 and 2 registration were later extended until February 7, 2003. The deadlines for Groups 3 and 4 were extended to March 21, 2003 and April 25, 2003.
Results of the program
As of May 2003, 82,581 individuals had complied with the domestic portion of the program. Of these, at least 13,153 were placed in deportation proceedings. Although the program originally included a requirement to re-register annually, the Department of Homeland Security, which gained jurisdiction over the program, eliminated this requirement.
NSEERS was indefinitely suspended as of April 27, 2011, when the US-VISIT program was instituted as its replacement.
Immigrant rights advocates criticized the program, particularly the domestic portion of it, for profiling on the basis of ethnicity and religion as well as generally undermining immigrants' rights. They noted that 24 of the 25 countries included on the list are predominantly Muslim, while all of the countries are in Asia or Africa. Some national security experts said that the program was likely to be ineffective. Given the large numbers involved and the nature of the requirements, they argued, it was unlikely to find any members of Al Qaeda. NSEERS was probed in the documentary film "Aliens Among Us" by Martina Radwan, for the devastating effect it had on immigrant families of Arab origin.
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund Special Registration Report
- "Gore in Jeddah", an essay by Said Shirazi about the Arab Round-Up of 2002-2003.
- 'Special Registration' Program from migrationpolicy.org