The Immigration and Naturalization Service announced twice last month that male non-immigrants from certain countries will have to return to INS ports of entry within the next two months. The INS divided men into two “call-in” groups. Those in the first group must return by Dec. 16 while those in the second group must return by Jan. 10.
Men who fall into either of the two call-in groups will have to complete “Special Registration,” a process which requires certain foreign nationals to go through a number of procedures, including fingerprinting and taking mugshots. For the first group, men are required to complete Special Registration if they were born on or before Nov. 15 while those in the second group have to complete the procedure if they were born on or before Dec. 2, 1986. In addition, they have to complete Special Registration if they have not been inspected by the INS since Sept. 10 or Sept. 30, if they did not apply for asylum by Nov. 6 or Nov. 22, and if they will remain in America until Dec. 16, 2002 or Jan. 10, 2003.
The countries included in the Nov. 6 announcement were Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria. On Nov. 22, 13 more countries were added: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Any member of the call-in groups who fails to complete Special Registration by the appointed dates could face deportation.
“There are going to be a handful of Yale affiliates — students and scholars — who will be subject to this kind of special registration,” Office of International Students and Scholars Director Ann Kuhlman said. “[These students] are required to report changes of address after 10 days. If they are going to stay more than one year, they have to tell INS. They have to leave from designated ports.”
Kuhlman said a few individuals already have completed the registration process, which takes approximately half a day, without any problems. While the addition of countries to the list might mean some students may have to spend additional hours at INS ports of entry, the real problem continues to be with students’ difficulties getting visas, she said.
Kuhlman added that some Yale affiliates have been waiting for visas for six months and had to defer enrollment until next year.
Lebanese resident Omar Christidis ’04 said the inclusion of some countries to the list, such as Lebanon, and the exclusion of others, such as Saudi Arabia, surprised and bothered him. Christidis said because he uses his Greek passport to travel, he probably will not have to go through special registration. Nevertheless, he said he was appalled by the idea of special registration.
“It doesn’t matter whether it applies to me. It’s awful,” Christidis said. “It’s ridiculous. UAE and Lebanon? These are the most liberalized, modernized nations [in the Middle East]. Lebanon is half-Christian; Lebanon just doesn’t have a fundamentalist character.”
The creation of these call-in groups, Kuhlman said, “is a continued response to 9-11.”
But Kuhlman said she did not know how the INS chose the countries for the call-in groups.
Christidis said the INS’s decision to target non-immigrants from these nations was part of the “axis of terror polemic” and an example of ethnic profiling.
Moroccan citizen Amin Benaissa ’03, who is exempt from Special Registration because he has a diplomatic passport and visa, said he disagrees. Benaissa said he would have no problem going through the process because he understands the reasoning behind the procedure — the possibility of terrorists coming into America from the listed nations.
Yet the special registration should have little to no effect on current Yale undergraduates. According to the Yale facebook, there are only four students in Yale College from any of the countries in the call-in groups.
“I look for Muslim-Arab students on campus,” Christidis said. “There aren’t any.”