Special Registration, a part of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration
System (NSEERS), and the 30-Day Port of Entry registration program, is described
and analyzed in a new AALDEF report entitled, Special Registration:
Discrimination and Xenophobia in Government Policy.
From November 2002 to April 2003, the Special Registration “call-in” program
targeted men and boys from North Korea and 24 predominantly Muslim countries in
Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. In preparation for its report, AALDEF
surveyed 219 of the nearly 800 individuals it had counseled during that period.
The report found that Special Registration disproportionately affected Muslim
men in working class professions, many with wives and children. Over 42% had
pending applications for green cards. Two-thirds of those surveyed wanted to
comply with the law, but over 50% who registered found themselves placed in
AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung said, “This selective enforcement of
immigration laws has not enhanced national security and instead has threatened
our core democratic values of freedom. The Special Registration program
represented a serious lapse of judgment that should not be repeated again.”