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 Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 16:28 GMT
US widens checks on visitors
People line up in front of IND in San Francisco
Many people have been detained when going to register
The United States has added five states to the list of countries whose adult males must register with US immigration authorities when making a long-term visit.

It is difficult for us to recommend... for people to come forward to register

Pete Schey
immigration lawyer
The new order published on Thursday adds old allies Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait, as well as Bangladesh, to the existing list of 20 states, which was compiled after the 11 September terror attacks.

Long-term visitors aged 16 or over from the five states now have to register at Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) offices between 24 February and 28 March.

Bangladesh has voiced regret at its inclusion on the list which covers mainly Muslim states with the exception of Communist North Korea.

Check list
Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Jordan and Kuwait now have a deadline of 24 February to 28 March
Saudis and Pakistanis must register by 21 February
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria have between 27 January and 7 February to complete registration
"We hope it is a temporary measure and its impact will be limited in scope and form," Foreign Secretary Shamser Mobin Chowdhury said.

"Our credentials as a moderate, tolerant and a practising democracy have been very clearly established," he added.

The foreign nationals must all visit INS offices to be photographed and fingerprinted and to show certain documents.

Amnesty

Nationals from the 20 countries already on the check list have been summoned in stages to INS offices with 14,000 Saudi and Pakistani nationals currently facing a deadline of 21 February.

Checks on Iranians in December provoked street protests in Southern California - where there is a big Iranian community - when scores of men were reportedly arrested after reporting for registration.

People in LA demonstrating against immigration detentions
Southern California saw street protests
They were detained on charges ranging from violating visa regulations to crimes committed during their stay.

The INS also announced on Thursday that it was giving nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria who missed the 16 December deadline another chance to register without penalty - between 27 January and 7 February.

Most of those required to register are in the US as students or business travellers, or are visiting relatives.

Immigration lawyers say that the arrests which have occurred at INS offices are inhibiting people from coming forward.

"In light of the mass, warrantless arrests, which we believe to be illegal, it is difficult for us to recommend, in good faith, for people to come forward to register," Pete Schey, a lawyer for immigrants in California, told The Associated Press.

See also:

16 Jan 03 | South Asia
15 Jan 03 | South Asia
10 Jan 03 | Americas
10 Jan 03 | Americas
18 Jan 03 | Americas
09 Apr 02 | Americas
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