Immigration and International Trade E-Alert
DHS Deletes All Countries Listed on the Country-Based Profiling Registration Program
On April 27, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it was depopulating the list of countries subject to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERs), effective April 28, 2011.
What is NSEERs?
NSEERS was a temporary measure put into place in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and was designed to record the arrival, stay, and departure of certain individuals from countries chosen, based on an analysis of possible national security threats. Persons subject to NSEERS registration were required register upon arrival to and departure from the U.S. at one of the 118 designated ports of departure, limiting travel flexibility, and making the admission and departure process for these individuals more burdensome. NSEERS is an example of profiling based on country of origin.
Why is DHS deleting the country list for the NSEERs program?
According to DHS, since NSEERS was created, the agency has implemented several automated systems (e.g., US-VISIT) that capture arrival and/or exit information, making the manual entry of this data via the NSEERS registration process redundant, inefficient, and unnecessary. NSEERS has been criticized for contributing to racial profiling and civil rights violations. In addition, many NSEERs registrants complained that the procedures were unclear, underpublicized, and difficult to follow. The improved and expanded DHS and Department of State systems capture the same information for visitors, regardless of nationality.
The elimination of NSEERs is long overdue, and ends a burdensome and inefficient process based on generalizations tied to certain countries regarding security threats. Information is still needed regarding how those individuals who face NSEERS-related charges are to be treated. The American Immigration Lawyers Association has called upon DHS "to implement policies to treat as a favorable factor in discretionary determinations the withdrawal of designation of an individual's country of citizenship or nationality, including individuals seeking adjustment of status, and to terminate removal proceedings against the victims of the NSEERS mess."
To view a copy of the notice uploaded today to the Federal Register by DHS, and for a list of the 25 predominantly-Muslim countries that were subject to the NSEERs registration requirement, click here.
Our immigration compliance group looks forward to assisting you with any questions. Please contact Kathleen Campbell Walker or Lisa Rios with questions.