November 30, 2003
AMV calls for clarification on Re-Registration
of non-immigrants from 24 Muslim countries
The American Muslim Voice has urged the Homeland Security Department to clarify the confusion caused by the media reports saying that the special re-registration program is about to be canceled.
The Washington Post, on November 21, reported that the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to abandon the visitor registration program that primarily affects Muslim men, causing widespread confusion and protests earlier this year after thousands of people who complied were arrested or ordered deported.
It quoted US government sources as saying: "A decision to end the program is likely and could be announced within (the next few) days." Homeland Security spokesman Bill Strassberger and other officials said a new border-control effort, set to begin on Jan 5, the US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program (US VISIT), would play a similar role in monitoring visitors. The program would use photographs and fingerprints to log entry and exit points.
The next day, New York Times also reported that the Homeland Security Department has decided to stop the program that required thousands of Arab and Muslim men to register with immigration authorities after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The New York Times said that officials have acknowledged that most of the Arabs and Muslims who have complied with the requirements had no ties to terrorist groups. Of the 85,000 men who went to immigration offices early this year, as well as tens of thousands screened at airports and border crossings, 11 had links to terrorism, the officials were quoted as saying.
Ms. Samina Faheem Sundas, the AMV Executive Director, said that these reports have caused confusion for those who are required to re-registration under the INS Special Registration program introduced last November. “The Homeland Security Department should urgently clarify if the re-registration has been canceled because many of those subject to Special Re-registration may fail to do so and thereby incur penalties.”
Meanwhile, the AMV has reminded persons subject to Special Call-In Registration and Port of Entry Registration to know that these requirements are still in effect and persons subject to Special Call-In Registration and Port of Entry Registration can be penalized for failure to comply.
The individuals affected by registration are still required to reregister within ten days from the anniversary of their initial registration. For example, if you registered on November 15, 2002 you must report to the local immigration office between November 5, 2003 and November 25, 2003. This re-registration applies to men who are in the US and remained in the US for the entire year without leaving the country. Those who fail to re-register may be subject to arrest, detention, fines and/or deportation.
On the other hand, individuals who are registered at the port of entry are still required to go through re-registration between days 30 and 40 of their entering the United States.
Information about registration requirements can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) web site for special registration:
For more information visit: www.amuslimvoice.org
Or contact on AMV Hotline: 1-866-815-7233