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Report Proves Special Registration Discriminatory, Ineffective

Thursday, November 13, 2003

  • Organization: Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund
  • Source: National > Asylum Law

ASIAN AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP RELEASES REPORT PROVING SPECIAL REGISTRATION DISCRIMINATORY, INEFFECTIVE

Community groups, affected individuals speak out
against harsh government immigration policies

New York, NY -- With rapidly approaching annual registration deadlines for people subject to Special Registration, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released its report "Special Registration: Discrimination and Xenophobia as Government Policy." The group called for the government to end the notorious immigration program and for Congress to conduct oversight over last year's implementation of Special Registration and similar initiatives. AALDEF also expressed concern over the Bush Administration's failure to provide adequate information - those who registered last year are unsure whether they are still legally required to re-register every year.

The 50-page report, "Special Registration: Discrimination and Xenophobia as Government Policy" was based on a survey of 219 individuals who had approached AALDEF for legal assistance related to Special Registration. AALDEF staff and volunteers asked respondents for their opinions and about their experiences with the registration process. Key findings included:

  • 95% were Muslim.
  • at least 59% were engaged in working-class professions.
  • 38% were married with spouses in the United States; 19% had children in the United States.
  • 67% who registered and gave one or more reasons for doing so cited a desire to follow the law.

AALDEF Community Organizer Sam Quiah pointed to the results as evidence of the selective enforcement of the Special Registration requirements. "It's astounding that 95% of the people with whom we spoke were Muslim and yet the government claims that Special Registration is not discriminatory." Between November 2002 and April 2003, 82,581 men and boys from North Korea and 24 predominantly Muslim countries in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East appeared at immigration offices as a result of the Special Registration requirements.

AALDEF Staff Attorney Sin Yen Ling said, "The Bush Administration is already trying to deport 13,153 people who registered. This program must be terminated or there will be almost 70,000 others who will face a similar fate - amounting to the mass deportation of entire Muslim communities from the United States."

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), a New York-based organization founded in 1974, protects the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, advocacy, and community education. Since September 11, AALDEF has provided free legal consultations and representation to 9-11 detainees, hate crime victims, Special Registrants, and others affected by the anti-immigrant backlash.

For more information:

Saurav Sarkar, 212-966-5932, ext. 216
Samuel Quiah, 212-966-5932, ext. 215

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