A. ACAR, Esq.
immigration field has changed in many ways since the terrorist
attacks of September 11, 2001.
For example, quick action is no longer possible
for some applicants and visa issuance in Canada or Mexico
is out of the question for nationals of significant groups
of countries. Those
not belonging to the listed countries, if denied visa
issuance in Mexico or Canada will be unable to return
to the U.S. on their old visa status and will have to
depart to their home countries directly from Canada or
Mexico for visa issuance.
have significantly increased and are now going through
mandatory security checks.
applications are skyrocketing as the legal risks to green
card holders grow, but adjudication of those applications
have slowed in some cases for security reasons.
the U.S. is debating whether aliens, permanent residents,
and even U.S. citizens can be arrested and deprived of
liberty on U.S. soil without charges being filed, and
whether any court has jurisdiction to determine whether
such incommunicado, indefinite detention without access
to an attorney are constitutional.
A. Acar, Esq. (left), informed Turkish Cummunity
about legal changes on the Immigration Laws since
September 11, 2001 at the Turkish House in New York
City on November 26, 2002. Event sponsored by Turkish
American Federation and organized by Bircan Unver
(right) Photo: Canalp Caner
is a backlog of 10,000 visas at US consulates throughout
the world. These delays are mostly caused by extensive
background and security checks conducted in coordination
with U.S. government agencies. Many foreign students, business people and other travelers
visa applications have been subject to the security procedure
known as “visas condor”. In the future, these
security reviews are expected to take less than a month
from the time of visa application.
New Restrictions on the way for entering in the U.S.
Started October 1, 2002
Publishes Final Rule on Special Registration, Monitoring
in Light of Ongoing Terrorism Concerns)
The INS Published a final rule on August 12, 2002 relating
to the special registration and monitoring of certain
nonimmigrants in response to ongoing terrorism-related
concerns following the September 11, 2001, attacks on
the U.S. The
final rule, effective on September 11, 2002 requires that
certain foreigners provide specific information at regular
intervals to ensure compliance with the U.S. immigration
laws because of U.S. national security and law enforcement
interests. The final rule modifies existing requirements
to require certain nonimmigrants to report to the INS
upon arrival, approximately 30 days after arrival, every
12 months after arrival, upon certain events (such as
a change of address, employment, or schooling), and at
the time of departure from the U.S. Those nonimmigrants
will also be required to supply photographs and fingerprints.
set of changes reflects the fact that the special registration
system will be paperless. The Department of Justice noted
that, until an electronic filing system is fully implemented,
the agency will continue to require nonimmigrants aliens
subject to special registration to make their special
only paper process that is being continued is that of
the change of address form (AR-11)
final rule continues to provide that a foreign national
must reregister at each 30-day interval and annually,
but adds that if a nonimmigrant subject to special registration
can show a “specific burden,” he or she may
seek relief (exemption) from the appropriate INS district
commenter stated that the proposed rule would effectively
create a new ground of inadmissibility (exclusion from
the U.S.) as its characterizes failure to comply with the final registration
provisions as “unlawful activity.”
The commenter noted that the alien would be presumed thereafter
to be inadmissible as an alien “who a consular officer
or the Attorney General knows, or has reasonable ground
to believe, seeks to enter the United States to engage
solely, principally, or incidentally in…any other
Department recognizes, the final rule states, that there
may be reasons why a departing foreign national may not
be able personally to report for final registration when
leaving the U.S., and the Department acknowledges that
some failures to register upon leaving are likely not
to be the result of a preconceived intent to engage in
unlawful activity at some future time of the alien’s
reentry intro the U.S.
If such a nonimmigrant violates the specific
regulations relating to final registration, however, that
alien will be presumed to be inadmissible. The presumption maybe overcome, the final
rule states, but
the INS has not provided a list or circumstances
in which such a failure would be excused
Final rule is effective September 11, 2002, and expanded on October 1, 2002.
will be four different methods by which a nonimmigrant
alien will be identified for special registration.
The four method are: 1) citizens or nationals or
countries designated through publication of a notice in
the Federal Register, 2) notification through the Interagency
Border Inspection System (IBIS), 3) pre-existing criteria,
as defined by the Attorney General and 4) INS officer
discretion at the ports of entry to the U.S.
citizens of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Syria are subject to special
registration requirements. Therefore, any nonimmigrant alien 14 and older,
(with the exception of A and G visa holders), who is a
citizen or national of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya or Syria,
will be registered pursuant to the new special registration
list was also expanded recently to include citizens or
nationals of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen who are males between 16 and 45 years of age who will also
be registered under new INS directives.
October 1, 2002, inspecting officers are also required
to specially register nonimmigrant aliens in accordance
with the following guidance.
inspecting officer will receive “special registration”
lookouts via the IBIS database pursuant to State Department
Instructions during their primary inspection. The lookout
will direct the officer to register the nonimmigrant alien
or exempt the nonimmigrant alien from special registration.
any nonimmigrant alien, regardless of nationality, must be specially registered
when the INS inspecting officer has determined or has
reason to believe that a nonimmigrant meets pre-existing
criteria, as determined by the Attorney General, that
would indicate that such alien’s presence in the
United States warrants monitoring in the interest of national
determining whether to exercise his or her discretion
to require a nonimmigrant alien to comply with the special
registration requirements the INS officer may only
consider the following criteria:
The nonimmigrant alien has made unexplained trips to Iran, Iraq,
Libya, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia,
Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia,
or Malaysia, or the alien’s explanation of such
trips lacks credibility.
The nonimmigrant alien has engaged in other travel, not well explained
by the alien’s job or other legitimate circumstances.
The nonimmigrant alien has previously overstayed in the United
States on a nonimmigrant visa, and monitoring is now appropriate
in the interests of national security.
The nonimmigrant alien meets characterization established by current
intelligence updates and advisories.
The nonimmigrant alien is identified by local, state or federal
law enforcement as requiring monitoring in the interest
of national security.
The nonimmigrant alien’s behavior, demeanor, or answers indicate
that alien should be monitored in the interest of national
The nonimmigrant alien provides information that causes the immigration
officer to reasonably determine that the individual requires
monitoring in the interest of national security.
INS officer’s decision to register any nonimmigrant
will be reviewed by a supervisory immigration officer.
more information about “Special Registering”
Website Containing A New Section on Special Registration.
INS has updated its website with detailed information
on how and where to comply with the new Special Registration
requirements, which a 9/6/02 Federal Register notice made
applicable to nationals of 5 countries. Click on the link
below to view the information.
above list indicating the various types of circumstances
under which an INS officer at a U.S. port of entry will
make a special registration decision for any applicant,
should give everyone pause and cause for reflection.
could very well be that an INS officer, not satisfied
by a visitor’s – student’s – H-1B
worker’s – or other nonimmigrant’s explanations,
overall attitude and appearance during the brief interview,
to require registration and its attendant headaches.
is highly recommended that all nonimmigrants remain courteous,
polite and calm during the admission process, limit their
answers to the questions asked. Lack of English fluency could also be
a potential problem during this process. Having in one’s
possession relevant back up documentation regarding the
potential areas of questioning is also highly recommended.
Web site: http://www.cigdem-acar.com
article is drafted for general information only. The information
presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice
nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship between
the author and the reader while The Acar Law Firm hopes
that the information presented in this article is useful
and informative, readers are strongly encouraged to seek
independent counsel for advice regarding their individual
legal issues. We assume no liability or responsibility
for any errors or omissions in the content of this article.
© November 2002, The Acar Law Firm, PLLC