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INS – ‘Special Registration’ – UPDATE….

Please read this full article for details on:
~ “Call In" and “Arrival/Departure” Special Registration,
~ Procedure Requirements,
~ Who is exempt,
~ Your rights and
~ Penalties for non-compliance.

1) “Call Ins”
As of January 13th, 2003, all male non-immigrants who are from Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, who:

• were born on or before January 13, 1987
• Were inspected and admitted to the USA as a non-immigrant on or before September 30, 2002
• and who will remain in the USA after February 21, 2003.

Must appear in person and register at a designated local Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) district office BEFORE February 21, 2003.

This ‘Special Registration’ is to comply with a deadline to register with authorities under anti-terror laws which were introduced following the September 11 attacks.

They may be detained or deported if their visas have expired or if they have otherwise violated US immigration law, or they may be arrested if they fail to register. Under the scheme male foreign nationals from countries identified as harbouring terror groups must register, be fingerprinted and questioned.

Armenia was originally included in this "call in" group but was then deleted.

As we reported previously:
Last Friday, (Jan 10th) was the cut-off date for males over the age of 16, from 13, mainly Muslim countries, who are non-immigrants, to have registered with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS). Those Countries include:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Last week many US cities reported queues of people from the early hours of Friday morning, despite many voicing concern that they may be detained.

Previous ‘call ins’ in December 2002, for males from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria are reported to have led to up to 1,000 men currently being held by US authorities, according to human rights advocates. US officials however, put the number at around 250.

2) ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE SPECIAL REGISTRATION:
In addition, there is a far broader system of ‘special registration’ on arrival or departure from the U.S:
• On arrival at a U.S. port of entry, non-immigrants subject to special registration are diverted to more in-depth "secondary inspection" and are interviewed, fingerprinted, and photographed.
• Non-immigrants subjected to special registration on admission must reregister in person with a designated local INS District Office if they remain in the U.S. for 30 days or longer, within 10 days after the 30 day mark (30-40 days after admission), and must report annually, within 10 days of the annual mark of original admission (10 days before or after annual mark).
• Non-immigrants subject to special registration on admission or through "call in", or who depart the U.S. after October 1, 2002 must report for special registration at designated ports of exit listed below.

3) WHO IS EXEMPT:
Special registration does NOT apply to:
• Lawful Permanent Residents or U.S. citizens
• Non-immigrants who were admitted in A or G (diplomatic) status
• Non-immigrants who have applied for asylum on or before December 16, 2002
• Non-immigrants who have been granted asylum or refugee status
• "Parolees" (e.g. adjustment applicants who are admitted using advance parole) are not admitted as non-immigrants and are therefore not subject to "call in" special registration.

4) SPECIAL REGISTRATION PROCEDURES:
The INS will interview, photograph, and fingerprint registrants, and will note registrants' compliance on their I-94 cards and on its database. It is important to make a copy of your Form I-94 for your records after it is annotated. If you appear for registration and you are advised you are not required to register, be sure that your I-94 is also marked to indicate this and that you make a copy of your Form I-94. Registrants do have the right to have an interpreter and/or counsel with them. INS officers do however have the discretion to detain non-immigrants and place them in removal (deportation) proceedings, for reasons such as but not limited to, being out of status, or a law enforcement "hit" upon doing a security check.

5) PENALTIES FOR NON COMPLIANCE:
The penalties for failure to comply timely with this special registration requirement may include:
• The INS may determine you failed to maintain non-immigrant status, which may cause INS to deny applications or change or extension of status,
• Penalties for fraudulent statements or for "willful" failure to register include criminal conviction of a federal misdemeanor involving imprisonment of up to six months, and fine up to $1000,
• Deportation/Removal from the United States unless you can establish to the INS "that such failure was reasonably excusable or was not willful."
• If you are applying for readmission, INS will presume that you are inadmissible if you failed to report to an inspecting immigration officer at a designated port of entry/exit when you departed the United States.

Affected non-immigrants who believe they should be exempted from special registration requirements may apply to their local INS District Office for relief from the requirement.

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