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Immigration Registration Deadline Passes; 150 Protest (english)
by Dan Keshet
Email: dkesh, channel1, com
14 Jan 2003
Modified: 02 Oct 2003
Friday, January 10 was the deadline for the second group of foreign visitors required to register in person with the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).
On the morning of the tenth,
registrants formed long lines to register at regional INS headquarters
in the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Federal Building. Activists from the
Amer Jubran Defense Committee (AJDC) acted as legal observers and
moral support for the registrants; two were detained and given tickets
for "political solicitation" inside a federal building. The previous
day, about 150 people gathered outside the building in a lunchtime
picket protesting the registration progam.
The non-border part of the NSEERS program requires certain visitors
to the United States who do not have green cards (i.e. permanent
resident status) to register in person with the INS, get fingerprinted
and interrogated. The non-border part of the program applies to male
citizens greater than 16 years old of certain mainly Arab or Muslim
countries: in the first group: Iran, Iraq, Libya, the Sudan, and
Syria; in the second group: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea,
Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the
United Arab Emirates, and Yemen; and in the third group: Pakistan and
Saudi Arabia. The INS has not said whether the program will be
extended to men from other countries. However, the border portion of
the program already applies to nationals of 135 countries, in addition
to anybody else "identified by INS border guards" as matching certain
undisclosed criteria, according to the Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice has stated that it will arrest any of
those registrants who it believes has violated United States criminal
or immigration law. Following the first deadline, published reports
indicated that more than 1,000 of those who registered in Southern
California alone were detained on mainly minor or paperwork
violations, most of which the immigrants attribute to an indifferent
or hostile INS bureaucracy, which refused to process many vital forms.
The arrests overflowed the California jails, sending some prisoners to
Arizona, according to published reports, and caused widespread fear
within the immigrant community.
Following those detentions, around forty or so activists held a
protest outside the JFK building through a rainstorm on Friday,
December 20. They then scheduled Thursday's protest, which was
organized by the AJDC in conjunction with the American Civil
Liberties' Union (ACLU), the National Lawyers' Guild (NLG), and United
for Justice with Peace (UJP), among many other groups.
Attendees of Thursday's protests compared the registrations with many
campaigns from history, including the Palmer Raids, a series of
quasi-legal attacks on radical leftists between 1918-1921; the
McCarthy-era anti-communist investigations; the internment of
Japanese-Americans in the United States during World War 2; and the
Nazi roundup of immigrants and others in late 1930s Germany.
Said, a naturalized US citizen originally from Morocco, said he came
because he, and the Muslim community, are feeling pushed aside right
now, as if there is nobody to represent them in the United States: "We
need to understand we have our voice, our rights as human beings."
Another Moroccan, here on a temporary work permit, said that when he
went to register, he had found the INS to be very disrespectful,
siezing and searching his wallet. He also said the INS has been
sitting on his application for permanent residence for a long time
without responding. Ahmed Duran, a US citizen with family in
Pakistan, said that lately when he's been travelling, border guards
have started asking him humiliating questions, including asking him to
pronounce his Western name, which appears on his license. He
expressed fears that if the United States goes to war against Iraq, he
might be drafted.
The rally had approximately 150 attendees, many of them new and
inexperienced protesters. Jan Lynt and Sandy Frades, however, were
not. They came from Milford, New Hampshire, where they are members of
the Social Responsibility Committee of the Unitarian Universalist
Church. In addition to protesting the INS, which they characterized
as "out-of-control", they came to publicize the case of Wanjiku
Thiong'o, a Kenyan immigrant and fellow church member who is serving a
jail sentence on (imagined, according to Lynt and Frades) charges of
conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Other causes represented amongst
attendees included a January 18 anti-war protest in Washington, D.C.,
numerous petitions against the INS' actions, and a flier which asked
for support for Cubans jailed by the United States for engaging in
counterterrorism work. (See: http://www.antiterroristas.cu)
The rally was well-documented. In addition to the Independent Media
Center, many students from local universities came to record it as
part of media projects. The Boston Globe sent one reporter, and ran a
story on the protest on Page 3 of their Friday edition.
On Friday, members of the Amer Jubran Defense Committee--myself
included--returned to act as legal observers and moral support for the
registrants. We distributed "Know Your Rights" cards with a legal
referral hotline in case of legal emergency. The mood in the waiting
room for registration was one of palpable anxiety amongst the
immigrants. One activist there in the morning said that registrants
were afraid to be seen taking cards or even speaking with him.
Activist Aimee Smith and myself were detained by the Federal
Protective Services, the police branch of the General Services
Administration, which maintains federal buildings, at about one PM,
after having been inside the building for approximately five minutes.
We were brought to the basement of the building, given tickets for
"political solicitation", and released approximately half an hour
later. We were barred reentry into the building.
Hooray for the INS (english)
by The Hessian
(No verified email address)
15 Jan 2003
I applaud the INS for finally doing it's job. You lefty weirdos have a damn short memory.
You see, on 09/11/2001, a group of Arabs, many of them illegal aliens, took advantage of an INS which was almost completely negligent in doing it's job - then used our own airplanes to kill thousands of people.
Maybe you missed that news item - it got limited coverage in the Crazyland Times...or perhaps your tin-foil hats blocked the signal.
Very Interesting (english)
(No verified email address)
17 Jan 2003
I want to applaud the people who protested outside the JFK Federal Building on 1/10/03. I was having a pretty boring day, and it enlightened me to see you outside. INS is awful for requiring these countries to register with them. Who cares that America was attacked by terrorists from these countries, using our own planes to kill innocent people(not just Americans). As long as you all feel safe living in your fantasy world, everything is fine. Its easy to protest here in the U.S. where you are all protected by our Freedom of Speech and the many young men and women of the military who risk their lives so that you can enjoy these rights. I'm sorry to say; standing outside in rain for a couple hours doesnt even begin to compare to what our U.S. troops have to encounter every day.
So keep attending your rallies and signing your sheets and feeling like you are accomplishing something. Because in the eyes of everyone else, you are just sad, pathetic losers looking for attention, before you go back to your cozy, U.S. protected homes.
yeah, let's all blow shit up... (english)
(No verified email address)
17 Jan 2003
that's right on the money there fellas...
it's only because of our many brave troops out there in afghanistan (many of them just out of high school, looking for a way to pay for college, and disproportionately people of color, and overwhelmingly poor or working class), where they get shot at every day by the locals who are just thrilled to have them visiting; and in korea, where giant protests regularly demonstrate the solidarity the koreans have for our troops who kill and rape their children with impunity; and in colombia, where our soldiers and diplomats are engaged in a brutal but necessary war to protect the massive drug trade and the oil supply and natural resources from this clearly supportive ally; etc, etc...
it's because of our heroic troops and our even more heroic leaders that we have the privilege of driving our monstrous suv's and eating our triple cheeseburgers, or even have the luxury of being allowed to live in this beautiful and glorious land of freedom and democracy.
yes, let's all support our troops and pray for the destruction of those evil 'axis of evil' people, who wouldn't know freedom if it was dropped on their shacks from a brand-new apache chopper with hellfire missles.
go troops, and heil ashcroft!
"the great satan" take you! (english)
by Pay your Jizya
(No verified email address)
03 Feb 2003
The left is natuarlly a cowardly organisation that is to say the left Undermines the values of pride and Honour, as one of their main traits. Not in itself a bad thing, the world needs cowards too. They are not cowardly in displaying their cowardice; they are proud and gloat it, yet they have no grasp of honour. You say that the american soilders these days are being sent to afganistan, and iraq against their will. We live in a free country. Anyone of those soldiers is free to run away.
Also (I know this is from the "lie" spewing mainstream but):
By Dave Moniz and Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The American troops likeliest to fight and die in a war against Iraq are disproportionately white, not black, military statistics show — contradicting a belief widely held since the early days of the Vietnam War.
Next up: this is a little dated. (Can somebody fisk this dude with more recent stuff?)
Persons in the Armed Forces and Military Quarters, 1990
(From my home state of pennslyvania (sorry i can't find anything more recent or for the whole nation.)
County Total Male White Black Hispanic
Pennsylvania 18,610 89.5 80.5 17.0 3.4
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Prepared by: The Pennsylvania State Data Center, Penn State Harrisburg
I don't know what the percent pop. of african americans there are in pennslyvania, but its about 12 percent nationally, so 17 - 12 = 5, vs. now thats disproportionality.
Sacrifice for Freedom (english)
by Robert A. Avila
robertavila (nospam) email.com (unverified)
02 Oct 2003
I am a National Guardsman activated for 14 months to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Men in my unit missed the birth of their first child. Others left new wives, partnerships in law firms, promotions, etc... I myself had to back out of the purchase of what would have been my first home. A lieutenant here will be two years behind his law school classmates after he is able to reenter the cycle of classes at his university. We all make these sacrifices because we believe in what we do. We are sequestered onto small bases and have to eat mass prepared food and room with people we didn't pick. We work long hours and many of us are taking deep pay cuts to be here.
I understand that the INS has a tough job fighting against language barriers, deception, and bureaucracy. I hope that the protestors facilitated correction on the part of any INS people who are taking their responsibilities half-heartedly. Everyone has to make some sacrifice in this national and international effort. This includes setting aside laziness to do your job thoroughly.
This also includes spending some time incarcerated because people from your homeland can't be trusted. We're sorry you have to be sequestered and room with people you didn't pick and have your life put on hold.... but if you can't suffer the sacrifice, you chose the wrong country. We know and expect sacrifice here.