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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 22:48 GMT
US eases immigration monitoring
Queuing to register with US immigration
Under the old rules 80,000 men had to re-register
The US is ending a controversial programme that required tens of thousands of foreign visitors to register with the immigration service.

The Department of Homeland Security said men from 25 nations would no longer have to re-register after 30 days and then a year after arriving.

But the men, mostly from the Middle East, will still be fingerprinted and photographed on arrival.

Critics said the policy discriminated against Muslims.

Asa Hutchinson, the department's undersecretary for border and transportation security, said the old rules would officially end on Tuesday.

COUNTRIES AFFECTED
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, Yemen
"It was a significant resource commitment to handle these re-registrations," Mr Hutchinson told reporters. "The resources can be better used in individual targeting."

Males aged 16 and over from the 25 countries will still face border checks.

The original programme was introduced in 2002 in reaction to the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

The Justice Department said at the time that the countries selected were places where the al-Qaeda terror network had been active, or where there were other security concerns.

The rules had applied to the 80,000 nationals on medium-term visits from 20 countries in the Middle East and Horn of Africa, as well as five Asian countries - Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and North Korea.




SEE ALSO:
US widens checks on visitors
16 Jan 03  |  Americas
Immigrants fear new US policy
10 Jan 03  |  Americas
Immigrants rush to meet US deadline
10 Jan 03  |  Americas
Visitors to US face fingerprinting
08 Dec 03  |  Americas
US cracks down on visas
09 Apr 02  |  Americas


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