INS requires more students to report

by Elizabeth Dunbar

Attorney General John Ashcroft recently announced a fourth group of countries affected by special registration rules – bringing the total of countries involved to 25 – requiring an additional 119 University students to report to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Males age 16 and older from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan and Kuwait must report to the INS between Feb. 24 and March 28 to get fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed as a part of new requirements to monitor foreign visitors in the United States.

Craig Peterson, International Student and Scholar Services assistant director, said students affected by the requirements have been attending appointments the INS set up with the University.

“They seem to be willing to make special arrangements,” Peterson said.

In sum, more than 200 University students have been forced to report to the INS under the registration rules.

Though students have not had problems meeting the deadlines, he said, there are still concerns about what the interviews involve.

“It’s a very nervous experience,” he said, adding that there have been several incidents across the country in which students were detained at their special registration interviews.

“They know they’re being scrutinized, and that causes a bit of anxiety,” he said.

Driss Ennaanay, a graduate student studying water resources, was interviewed by the INS during one of the appointments set up for University students.

Though Ennaanay, a Moroccan, said he heard about people being asked personal questions, he said his interview questions were not surprising.

“I didn’t see it as a problem,” he said, explaining that the INS official asked him about his parents in Morocco and requested the names of two references in the United States in addition to the other more standard questions.

Ennaanay said he did not feel uncomfortable during the interview but objects to the way the federal government is scrutinizing people from certain countries.

“There is a specific region they’re keeping track of, and they’re focusing on Muslim countries,” he said. “The U.S. is a country of freedom, and if they do this just to Muslim people, they will have more problems.”

In addition, Ennaanay said, the Moroccan government has worked to fight terrorism and should not be suspected of helping terrorists.

“There is no place for terrorism there,” he said. “Both the government and the population are against it.”

Peterson said approximately 119 students from the fourth group of countries must register.

Though John Klow, the INS’ deputy district director, declined to provide the exact number of males registering at the Bloomington office, he said people come in for registration every day.

“The increased workload has been noticeable,” he said, adding that no additional resources were provided for the INS to administer special registration.

In addition to the new countries, Ashcroft reopened registration for people from countries in the first and second groups such as Iran, Sudan and Afghanistan who failed to report by previous deadlines.

According to documents filed in the Federal Register Jan. 16, individuals from the third and fourth groups of countries should not expect more time to comply.

“Subsequent events have indicated that some number of individuals affected Ö remained unaware of the requirements,” the notice states, adding that the attorney general’s decision to reopen the registration was “an act of grace.”