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Special Registration Requirements Clash with EEOC Compliance Manual on National Origin Discrimination

by Carl R. Baldwin

Comparing the Compliance Manual of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with the Special Registration Requirements makes me wonder whether our national security concerns have crossed the line to become national origin discrimination.

As to Special Registration: December 16 is the date by which male nonimmigrants from five countries who are age 16 or over, and who entered the U.S. by September 9, 2002 and who will remain at least until December 16, 2002, must register. The designated countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Sudan.

The second deadline is January 10, 2003. By then male nonimmigrants from thirteen additional countries who are age 16 or over, and who entered the U.S. by September 30, 2002 and will remain at least until January 10 2003, must register. The thirteen countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Registration is not required for A and G nonimmigrants, lawful permanent residents, asylees, and those who applied
for asylum (by November 6, 2002 for the first deadline, by November 22, 2002 for the second). Failure to comply without a reasonable excuse is a failure to maintain nonimmigrant status, and may result in deportation and subsequent inadmissibility.

To move from the Special Registration Requirements to the EEOC Compliance Manual, dated December 2, 2002, is to move from foreboding to affirmation. Take a look at the stirring words in the “Overview”: “This section of the compliance Manual focuses on the prohibition against national origin discrimination. In enacting this prohibition, Congress recognized that
whether an individual’s ancestry is Mexican, Ukrainian, Filipino, Arab, American Indian, or any other nationality, he or she is entitled to the same employment opportunities as anyone else. Likewise, Title VII’s protections extend to all workers in the United States, whether born in the United States or abroad and regardless of citizenship status.”

I know there is a difference between immigration and employment, but wouldn’t it be a good thing if the open-minded and ecumenical spirit of the EEOC Compliance Manual penetrated our government’s thinking about immigration? We should not, after all, let our apprehensions about security prompt us to obliterate the very qualities that distinguish us from the governments designated for Special Registration.

About The Author

Carl R. Baldwin graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1980, and became a member of the New York State Bar a year later. He worked for three years with the New York City Law Department, and then entered solo practice in immigration law, which he has continued to the present. His work with clients has included asylum applications, deportation defense, visa processing, adjustment of status, and naturalization. He has also worked to implement special laws, such as the 1986 "amnesty" (The Immigration Reform and Control Act), and the 1998 Haitian reform act (The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act). Mr. Baldwin is the author of Immigration News Monthly. He can be reached by e-mail at

He has written a book on immigration law, called "Immigration Questions and Answers," Allworth Press, 2002. The book, which contains essential background information about how the immigration law works, can be ordered online from Allsworth Press at:

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.