SAALT Welcomes Official End of Discriminatory Profiling of South Asian, Muslim, and Arab Individuals via NSEERS Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Decem­ber 22, 2016
Con­tact: Suman Raghu­nathan, suman@saalt.org

SAALT applauds today’s announce­ment from the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty on a final rule that for­mal­ly ends the deeply flawed, patent­ly inef­fec­tive, and open­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Entry-Exit Reg­is­tra­tion Sys­tem (NSEERS) pro­gram (known as spe­cial reg­is­tra­tion) effec­tive imme­di­ate­ly.

As a nation­al South Asian orga­ni­za­tion that has since its incep­tion been fight­ing the deeply dis­crim­i­na­to­ry NSEERS pro­gram as well as racial and reli­gious pro­fil­ing writ large, SAALT thanks the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, White House, and the Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion for their deci­sion to rescind the reg­u­la­tion behind this dor­mant pro­gram.  SAALT in par­tic­u­lar salutes the stead­fast lead­er­ship, orga­niz­ing, and advo­ca­cy of South Asian, Mus­lim, and Arab indi­vid­u­als direct­ly impact­ed by the pro­gram and grass­roots South Asian and Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions-includ­ing mem­bers of the Nation­al Coali­tion of South Asian Orga­ni­za­tions (NCSO)-who have been involved in long­stand­ing advo­ca­cy against NSEERS. The pro­gram was dis­con­tin­ued in 2011, but its reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work remained dan­ger­ous­ly on the books until today.

NSEERS, first cre­at­ed in the imme­di­ate after­math of the events of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, required cer­tain non-immi­grant male vis­i­tors from 25 Mid­dle East­ern, Arab, and South Asian coun­tries and North Korea to appear at local immi­gra­tion enforce­ment offices. Over 80,000 men were forced to reg­is­ter and over 13,000 indi­vid­u­als were placed into depor­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings, which did not result in one ter­ror­ism-relat­ed con­vic­tion. SAALT and South Asian Amer­i­cans nation­wide have expe­ri­enced first­hand the ways pro­grams such as NSEERS have dec­i­mat­ed our trust in law enforce­ment.  Today’s announce­ment begins us on the path to restore some of that trust.

South Asians are the most rapid­ly-grow­ing demo­graph­ic group in the Unit­ed States, and there are an esti­mat­ed 3.3 mil­lion Mus­lims nation­wide.  Even as our com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to grow, we are remind­ed that we are all safer when we refuse to racial­ly and reli­gious­ly pro­file indi­vid­u­als.  As an orga­ni­za­tion with a deep and long­time com­mit­ment to racial jus­tice, civ­il rights, and civ­il lib­er­ties, SAALT will con­tin­ue fight­ing to ensure South Asians and indeed all Amer­i­cans are able to enjoy and exer­cise the basic rights and lib­er­ties enshrined in our Con­sti­tu­tion and con­cor­dant with our val­ues as a nation.