December 14, 1999
Course of action
The matter of fingerprinting Iranians at U.S. airports has come up
many times in the past, but it seems that this issue has not been fully
appreciated by many Iranians. Sometime ago the well known Iranian film
director Dariyoush Mehrjooi was fingerprinted. Mehrjooi is a former graduate
of the University of California, Berkeley. A number of invited Iranian
athletes were also fingerprinted. These two events and a few others have
been publicized in the press, but routine fingerprinting of ordinary Iranian
civilians have gone unnoticed.
This policy is a deliberate attempt by U.S. authorities to humiliate,
insult, and degrade innocent Iranians and label them as terrorists. In
fact it may be illegal within the U.S. on the grounds of discrimination.
Remember, these are our relatives, mothers, fathers, brothers and
sisters who are coming to the U.S. to visit their loved ones, who are
treated in this way. They have already been fully scrutinized when they
applied for a U.S. visa and have passed all kinds of security checks before
the approval of their visa application. Why are they being treated in
this way? This treatment is outrageous and a violation of human rights.
Collective action aginst this law will most probably be very popular
within the Iranian-American community and may help to mobilize silent
onlookers within this community. It is reminiscent of the past discriminatory
actions such collective internment of Japanese in World War II. The U.S.
public, if properly informed will most probably raise their objection to
this unjust practice. Thus, it is important to publicize these events
and bring them to the attention of the U.S. public.
I suggest the following course of action:
1) Those members near international airports (New York, Chicago, Los
Angeles, SanFrancisco, etc) must maintain a task force and be ready to
be present at the airport and possibly photograph the act of fingerprinting
of Iranians. Such photographs may also be solicited from those who go
to the airport to receive their relatives. These photographs and the fingerprinting
story may then be publicized in the local press. Anonimity may be maintained
by usual journalistic tactics.
2) As I mentioned, the fingerprinting of Iranians may in fact contradict
U.S. anti-discrimination laws. A class action suite may be filed. The
question remains who should file this?
Other corses of action may be added to this list.