January 11, 2001
Fingerprinting: Serves no purpose
On Mr. Ali Noshirvani's letter ["Time
to take responsibility"] I would like to comment from an American
(non-Iranian) perspective. It is misleading to attribute the U.S. fingerprinting
and search policies to the events of the revolution or even to current
policies of the Iranian government.
The policy of fingerprinting Iranian nationals arriving to the U.S.
dates back only to 1996 (see Federal Register: September 5, 1996, Vol.
61, No. 173, Page 46829. Accessible at www.gpo.gov.
Also see below). This decision of Attorney General
Janet Reno was promulgated in the wake of the TWA flight 800 explosion
later found to be caused by faulty equipment and not terrorism as originally
Furthermore, to my knowledge, not a single Iranian fingerprinted under
this policy has ever been charged or investigated in connection with any
act of terrorism against the U.S. or American citizens.
Ironically, the fingerprinting policy specifically exempts those people
responsible for Iranian government policy. The policy exempts "those
applying for admission under section 101(a)(15)(A) or 101(a)(15)(G) of
the Immigration and Nationality Act".
Referring to Title 8 U.S. Code Chapter 12, these sections relate to
government officials and representatives, their families and certain employees
and other staff. Consequently, the policy is not merely an example of a
net cast broadly, it is specifically directed against those least likely
to be of any threat to the U.S. It is a political decision of no merit.
The questions in my mind are, 1) should ordinary people be used as pawns
in such a political game? and 2) what are the benefits/costs to the U.S.?
Whether or not some people believe that it is reasonable and just for
the U.S. to exact a punishment upon ordinary Iranians for actions real
or imagined which were no fault of their own, I believe that the policy
does great harm to the U.S. and its interests. It serves no purpose to
humiliate people who have no ill intentions toward the U.S. If anything
it destroys amity and creates enmity.
Bradley Hernlem, PhD
References: [Federal Register: September 5, 1996 (Volume 61, Number
173)] [Notices] [Page 46829] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS No.
1783-96; AG Order No. 2052-96] RIN 1115-AC83
Requirement for the Registration and Fingerprinting of Certain Nonimmigrants
Bearing Iranian and Libyan Travel Documents
AGENCY: Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.
SUMMARY: This notice provides for the registration and fingerprinting
of certain nonimmigrants bearing Iranian or Libyan travel documents who
apply for admission to the United States. This notice is published in response
to concern for national security resulting from terrorist attacks and uncovered
plots directed by nationals of Iran and Libya. This procedure is necessary
to assist in protecting national security.
EFFECTIVE DATE: September 5, 1996.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrice Ward, Acting Chief Inspector,
Inspections Division, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 425 I Street
NW., Room 4064, Washington, DC 20536, telephone number: (202) 514-0964.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 16, 1991, a final regulation was
published in the Federal Register at 56 FR 1566 requiring the registration
and fingerprinting of certain nonimmigrants bearing Iraqi and Kuwaiti travel
documents. The requirement was promulgated in response to the United States
condemnation of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, United States sanctions against
Iraq, and the theft of thousands of Kuwaiti passports during the occupation
of Kuwait by Iraq, all of which heightened the potential for domestic anti-United
States terrorist activities. The Service published an interim rule in the
Federal Register on December 23, 1993 at 58 FR 68024 that removed the requirement
for the registration and fingerprinting of certain nonimmigrants bearing
Iraqi and Kuwaiti travel documents and added a new paragraph (f) to 8 CFR
264.1. Paragraph (f) provides that the Attorney General may require, by
public notice in the Federal Register, certain nonimmigrants of specific
countries to be registered and fingerprinted upon arrival in the United
States, pursuant to section 263(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality
Notice of Requirement for Registration and Fingerprinting of Certain
Iranian and Libyan Nonimmigrants
Recent terrorist activities perpetrated against the United States make
it necessary for the United States to register and fingerprint certain
nonimmigrants from Iran and Libya upon their application for admission
to the United States. Therefore, all nonimmigrants bearing Iranian or Libyan
travel documents who apply for admission to the United States, except those
applying for admission under section 101(a)(15)(A) or 101(a)(15)(G) of
the Immigration and Nationality Act, shall be registered on Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure
Record), photographed, and fingerprinted on Form FD-258 (Fingerprint Chart)
by the Service at the Port-of-Entry where the aliens apply for admission
to the United States.
Dated: August 28, 1996.
Janet Reno, Attorney General.
[FR Doc. 96-22609 Filed 9-4-96; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-10-M ------
from Title 8 U.S. Code Chapter 12: (15) The term ``immigrant'' means
every alien except an alien who is within one of the following classes
of nonimmigrant aliens--
(A)(i) an ambassador, public minister, or career diplomatic or consular
officer who has been accredited by a foreign government, recognized de
jure by the United States and who is accepted by the President or by the
Secretary of State, and the members of the alien's immediate family;
(ii) upon a basis of reciprocity, other officials and employees who
have been accredited by a foreign government recognized de jure by the
United States, who are accepted by the Secretary of State, and the members
of their immediate families; and
(iii) upon a basis of reciprocity, attendants, servants, personal employees,
and members of their immediate families, of the officials and employees
who have a nonimmigrant status under (i) and (ii) above;
(G)(i) a designated principal resident representative of a foreign government
recognized de jure by the United States, which foreign government is a
member of an international organization entitled to enjoy privileges, exemptions,
and immunities as an international organization under the International
Organizations Immunities Act (59 Stat. 669) [22 U.S.C. 288 et seq.], accredited
resident members of the staff of such representatives, and members of his
or their immediate family;
(ii) other accredited representatives of such a foreign government to
such international organizations, and the members of their immediate families;
(iii) an alien able to qualify under (i) or (ii) above except for the
fact that the government of which such alien is an accredited representative
is not recognized de jure by the United States, or that the government
of which he is an accredited representative is not a member of such international
organization; and the members of his immediate family;
(iv) officers, or employees of such international organizations, and
the members of their immediate families;
(v) attendants, servants, and personal employees of any such representative,
officer, or employee, and the members of the immediate families of such
attendants, servants, and personal employees.