Thursday, January 30, 2003

South Asian Action Alert

SAALT (South Asian-AMERICAN Leaders of Tomorrow) have issued an action alert on this very discriminatory Special Registrations policy. I am pasting their background info, but for complete details go to the SAALT website. I am also placing a link to a story from the Satya Circle on the registrations as well as a story from the Washington Post discussing the INS taking away Pakistani Scholar and well known columnist Ejaz Haider from Brookings yesterday. Haider is a thought provoking columnist for the Pakistani English weekly, The Friday Times.


Recent events in Congress provide a window of opportunity to end the “Special Registration” program by cutting off its funding. Last week, the U.S.
Senate approved a large budget bill (H. J. Res. 2) which includes an amendment that would cut off funding for “Special Registration.” The amendment also
requires that Attorney General John Ashcroft provide Congress with documents and other information on the creation and operation of Special Registration, and
provide an assessment of the program’s effectiveness. The House version of the budget bill does not contain this important amendment. So, in the coming weeks, certain designated members of the House and Senate [called a “conference committee”] will meet to agree on a final version of the bill that will then become law if it passes Congress and is signed by President Bush.
Please note that this amendment also allocates funding to provide information on the identity of all visitors to the United States and track when they
enter and leave the country. However, the amendment specifies that none of the funds may be used for INS’ Special Registration policy. Although SAALT is
concerned that the overall purpose of the amendment - to provide funds to monitor individuals as they enter and exit the country – is not wise in of
itself, we are supporting the elimination of funds for “Special Registration,” which targets individuals already in the United States.

To find out what you can do, check out SAALT's website.


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