(by Monisha Bansal, CNSNews.com) – A U.S. government program initiated in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to monitor visitors from certain foreign countries should be eliminated because it has “created chaos and fear,” according to the Arab American Institute.

The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) was implemented by the U.S. Justice Department on Sept. 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It requires visitors from 25 countries, mostly from the Middle East and North Africa, to be fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated.

The government requires registration for those from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The program does not apply to visitors from other countries, U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or those seeking asylum.

“NSEERS was so poorly conceived and badly managed that it created chaos and fear. Trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement was severely strained and, in the end, there was no evidence that any terrorists were apprehended as a result of the effort,” said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.

“The bottom line is that NSEERS is a failed and unfair program,” Zogby added. “An understaffed INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) couldn’t implement the program and almost 14,000 of those who complied were placed in deportation proceedings.”

NSEERS has also failed to protect Americans, Zogby asserted. It “has sowed fear and confusion in the Arab and Muslim communities instead of promoting an atmosphere of cooperation with law enforcement authorities.”

However, John Keeley, director of communications for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), said the kind of foreign visitor registration mandated in the NSEERS law, is “understandable.”

“There has been a glaring lack of entry and exit protocols both before and after 9/11. It’s hard for me to imagine other industrialized nations operating any differently,” Keeley told Cybercast News Service.

“The shear volume of traffic – about 5 million – makes it incumbent on government to have rigorous protocols. We at CIS, joined we think by the vast majority of the American people, view admission by all non-immigrants as a privilege, and asking of these guests more stringent entry and exit measures, in a post-9-11 world, is wholly understandable and defensible,” he added.

Reprinted here with permission from Cybercast News Service.  Visit the website at www.cnsnews.com.


1. What special procedure must visitors from 25 countries go through under the NSEERS plan?

2. List the countries included in the NSEERS plan. Which of these countries is on the continent of Africa? (for a map, go to WorldAtlas.com)

3. To which groups does the program not apply?

4. The Arab American Institute’s position on the war on terror, as stated on its website aaiusa.org, is “The U.S. should not use these terrible actions [on Sept. 11] to impose policies on other countries and avoid discussing how U.S. policies have contributed to conditions that encourage terrorism.”
How seriously should this organization’s accusations that the NSEERS program has “created chaos and fear” be taken? Explain your answer.

5. Does the statement that “14,000 [foreign visitors] were placed in deportation proceedings” lead you to believe that the program is doing a good job of turning away potential troublemakers and terrorists, or that the program has unfairly denied 14,000 innocent foreigners the right to visit the U.S.? Explain your answer.

6. Some would say “It’s unfair to target people from specific countries.” Others would say “We’re on the right track – we should have been registering people from these countries long ago.” What do you say? Why?

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