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 Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 11:16 GMT
US imposes new visitor regulations
Fingerprints
Saudis and Pakistanis have to provide fingerprints
The United States has added Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to a list of countries it considers high-risk for terrorism, bringing the total to 20.

The Muslim community is very upset

Faiz Rehman
American Muslim Council
Saudi and Pakistani men visiting or studying in the United States will be required to register with the government and provide their fingerprints and photographs.

They will have until February to provide documents to the country's Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS).

Muslim groups said the measures were heavy-handed and unlikely to identify any terrorists.

"This is a kind of racial profiling which is unconstitutional in this country," Faiz Rehman of the American Muslim Council told the BBC's World Today programme.

But he advised those affected to abide by the new requirements to avoid being deported.

Fingerprinting

Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are supporting the US in its so-called war on terror.

Saudi Arabia looks set to take tit-for-tat measures against American citizens, including fingerprinting.

Saudi man reading newspaper
Those who fail to register can be deported
Pakistan wants the US measures reviewed.

"We are taking up the issue with US authorities at the highest level," it's deputy ambassador in Washington, Mohammed Sadiq, told the BBC Urdu service.

"In the meantime, we have asked our citizens to abide by US law."

Iran - which was already on the list - has decided to fingerprint visiting Americans, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

Women excluded

Men from the first round of countries put on the list - Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria - had been ordered to register by Monday.

US airport
Visitors at all 300 US ports of entry will be subject to registration
Men from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen must register with the INS by 10 January, 2003.

The programme does not affect permanent residents, "green card" holders, or naturalised citizens from those countries, as well as diplomats and people who have political asylum in the US.

Those who fail to register can be deported. Women and children were excluded because their numbers would have made the programme impossible to administer, the US Justice Department officials said.

American officials insist that the measures will not affect relations with Riyadh and Islamabad.

Visiting the Pakistani capital, the American Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, praised Pakistan for its contribution to the US-led war on terrorism.

She said Washington is to donate surveillance equipment, worth $4.5m, to enhance security in Pakistan.


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See also:

08 Oct 02 | Middle East
01 Oct 02 | Americas
11 Jan 03 | Americas
06 Jun 02 | Middle East
26 Jun 02 | Americas
09 Apr 02 | Americas
11 Jun 02 | Americas
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