Three years ago, thousands of Arabs and Muslims were called to the Immigration offices to be registered, photographed, interrogated, and fingerprinted. It was the first stage of a National Security Entrance and Exit Registration System (NSEERS) – a program launched by John Ashcroft and presented as a basic defence line in the war on terror. But the main purpose was to destroy any relation of confidence between immigrants and the Immigration service, without the arrest, by certain, of one single terrorist.
Without means or training for operation, such registrations brought about chaos. In Los Angeles, 700 Iranian immigrants were arrested while being registered, which caused panic among those subjected to this measure. Such registrations were arbitrarily performed. Upon going to the offices, some immigrants were told that they should not undergo registration while others were listed to be expelled from the territory.
By now, 160 000 people should have been registered: all men from 24 Arab or Muslim countries plus those coming from North Korea. In fact, only 83 000 were registered. Many of those who must have registered preferred not to do it or just left the country. This is the case of the Pakistanis, for instance, that fled to Canada. Out of the 83 000 registered, 14 000 are “expellable”. It is not known how many were actually expelled since the Bush administration gives no figures.
This is a way to tarnish our image, but not to tighten our security.

Gulf News
Gulf News is the main newspaper devoted to the entire Persian Gulf . Circulation: more than 90,000 editions. Edited in Dubai in English, it is read largely by the important foreigner community residing in the region.

It’s time to end the shame”, by James Zogby, Gulf News, January 10, 2006.