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Dear Editor:
The following press release was released by the National Immigration Forum.

The Justice Department has mandated that certain male Pakistanis and Saudis over the age of 16 who are in the U.S. must register with the federal government by Friday, March 21. Registrants will be fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned during the process and must re-register periodically to avoid being branded as national security threats. As the next registration deadline approaches, confusion, discord, and panic have afflicted Pakistani and Saudi communities across the country. In previous waves of the registration program, lengthy detentions - for minor immigration violations and for bureaucratic reasons - have been common and many who have voluntarily come forward have been rewarded by being placed in deportation proceedings. Fearing this, hundreds of families have severed long-term ties to the U.S. and have fled to the Canadian border seeking asylum. In an on-the-record briefing, advocates, experts, and service providers will evaluate how the process is working, the impact it is having on immigrant communities, the security implications of the program, and the effect it is having on U.S. relations abroad. Dr. James J. Zogby, President and Founder of the American Arab Institute in Washington, an expert on Arab-American communities and U.S.-Arab relations, will discuss the upheaval this program is creating both here and abroad; Juliette Kayyem, Executive Director of the Kennedy School's Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness at Harvard University, will discuss the homeland security aspects of the registration program; and Gloria Rivera, Executive Director of Detroit's Freedom House, a refugee-serving agency that has been inundated by Pakistanis fleeing the country to seek asylum in Canada, will discuss the special problems the registration program has created for service providers near the U.S.-Canada border. The briefing will be moderated by Angela Kelley, Deputy Director of the National Immigration Forum. When: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 @ 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) How: Call 1-(877) 282-1086 or (703) 871-3017 and ask for the press briefing on Special Registration (confirmation #: 6459468) Who: Juliette Kayyem, Executive Director of the JFK School of Government's Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, Harvard University Gloria Rivera, Executive Director, Freedom House (Detroit, MI) James J. Zogby, Founder & President, American Arab Institute Angela Kelley, Deputy Director, National Immigration Forum, Moderator

Douglas Rivlin
National Immigration Forum