Special Registration

Special Registration

The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS, INS Special Registration)[1] is a system for registration of certain non-citizens within the United States, initiated in September 2002 as part of the War on Terrorism and terminated as of April 27th, 2011 [2]. This system has two separate portions: port-of-entry registration and domestic registration. In each case, the registree is required to be fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated. In addition, they are required to provide detailed information about their plans and updates to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in case of changes in plans. They are also able to travel to and from the US via certain ports only.


Port-of-entry registration

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); 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.

Domestic registration

Certain non-citizens who were in the United States prior to September 10 (and thus were not required to be fingerprinted or photographed when they entered the US) have been required to come to register in person at INS offices.[3] 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. Four groups of countries have been announced:

The initial announced 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 people, at least 13,153 were put into deportation proceedings. Although the program originally included a requirement for the remainder to reregister annually, this was later eliminated by the Department of Homeland Security, which gained jurisdiction over the program.

Eventually, NSEERS was indefinitely suspended as of April 27, 2011, while the US-VISIT program was retained as its replacement.

Criticism of NSEERS

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 and lives. They noted that 24 of the 25 countries included on the list are predominantly Muslim, while all of the countries are Asian or African. Some national security experts said that the program was likely to be ineffective; given the large numbers of individuals involved and the nature of the requirement, they argued it was unlikely to find any members of Al Qaeda.


External links

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