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CHOCO
Dec 18th, 2002, 11:59 PM
Pakistan objects to being added to INS tracking list

Laura Parker USA TODAY

WASHINGTON -- Pakistan complained Tuesday about the Bush administration's move to require visitors from that nation to be fingerprinted and photographed.

The U.S. decision places Pakistan on a list of 20 countries whose men are required to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service or face deportation. It is part of an effort to track foreign nationals from countries where terrorist groups have a significant presence.


''It's discriminatory,'' Asad Hayauddin, spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy, said. ''For certain countries that have been designated as terrorist states, we can understand that (requirement). Pakistan has never been designated as a terrorist state. We are an ally.''


The Pakistani protest underscores the political and diplomatic sensitivities associated with the Justice Department (news - web sites)'s efforts to keep better track of men who visit the USA from countries that are suspected of being hosts -- willing or not -- to al-Qaeda operatives and other terrorists.


The INS has drawn sharp criticism for its inability to track visitors to the USA, particularly since the Sept. 11 attacks, which were carried out by 19 foreigners. Eleven of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, which was also added to the INS list.


Both countries are U.S. allies whose support would be key in any military attack on Iraq, but neither country has strongly backed the idea of U.S. action against Iraq. In addition, al-Qaeda loyalists are active in Pakistan, and there have been questions about Saudi Arabia's commitment to disrupting terrorists' finances.


Justice Department spokesman Jorge Martinez would not discuss why the two countries were added to the list now. Nor would he discuss which other countries, if any, might be added to the INS list.


''That's a national security matter,'' he said.


Armenia was also to be added to the list, according to a Justice Department notice published in Monday's Federal Register. But Armenia was dropped after Armenian-American activists jammed the White House's fax line with thousands of letters of complaint.


Armenia is a predominantly Christian nation that was once part of the Soviet Union. The other countries on the list are mostly Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa. North Korea (news - web sites) is the only nation on the INS list that is not in that region.


The registration involves about 24,000 male visa holders visiting this country, Martinez said. He said he does not know how many of the foreign nationals have registered with the INS.


The program requires men older than 16 who arrived in the USA before Sept. 30, 2002, to register and provide other documents to the INS about their visit. The program does not affect permanent residents or naturalized citizens from those countries.


Activists and immigrants' advocacy groups have complained that many foreigners have been unaware of the INS registration requirements because the U.S. government has done a poor job of publicizing them.


Five countries were on the original INS list: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria. The registration deadline for those countries was Monday. Visitors from 13 more nations face a Jan. 10 deadline. The deadline for those from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is Feb. 21.


Those who missed Monday's deadline should register as soon as possible, officials say. If they can convince INS officials that they did not willfully delay registering, they will not be arrested, the Justice Department says.


Activists have called the INS program discriminatory and ineffective. A common complaint is that real terrorists are not going to sign up with the INS, and that those who bear the burden of the additional scrutiny are ordinary foreigners here on work, student or tourist visas.


As Monday's deadline approached, immigration lawyers reported that INS offices in cities with large Arab populations were so swamped that some men were turned away and told to come back later.


Others said foreigners whose visas had technically expired, but who had applications pending for permanent residency, had been detained by the INS.

''We have had hundreds of people detained in Orange County, Calif., Chicago, Michigan and New York,'' said Jason Erb, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. ''Some had their permanent status pending, some had their paperwork lost by the INS. They are getting swept up by this.''

Scotso
Dec 19th, 2002, 01:13 AM
This is a bit outrageous. Does Bush not realize that he's hurting our own people who are abroad by unleashing these programs?

More Americans are killed by Americans in one year than all the terrorist attacks in our history combined.

Kiwi_Boy
Dec 19th, 2002, 01:38 AM
Originally posted by King Scotso of Aragon
This is a bit outrageous. Does Bush not realize that he's hurting our own people who are abroad by unleashing these programs?

More Americans are killed by Americans in one year than all the terrorist attacks in our history combined.

......whats he supposed to do ,take time of his wars and regimes abroad to help his own people,run the country he was put in charge of?stop over 20,000 murders in his OWN country each year?start solving poverty in his own country?,stop interfearing in other countries problems and politics which only bring resentment upon the innocent american people?,nah thats just stupid and the veiws of a terrorist.how wrong of me.

CHOCO
Dec 19th, 2002, 10:50 AM
You would think that Pakistan being a friend would be exempt from this.

TheBoiledEgg
Dec 19th, 2002, 10:51 AM
take everything they can but give nothing in return :o
...... the US have taken over where the British left off :o

Scotso
Dec 19th, 2002, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by Kiwi_Boy
......whats he supposed to do ,take time of his wars and regimes abroad to help his own people,run the country he was put in charge of?stop over 20,000 murders in his OWN country each year?start solving poverty in his own country?,stop interfearing in other countries problems and politics which only bring resentment upon the innocent american people?

I had trouble decoding this, but yes. If he can't handle it, he shouldn't have run for president.