Members of Congress Urge Department of Homeland Security to End Discriminatory NSEERS Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Keith Rushing, Communications Manager, krushing@Rightsworkinggroup
(p) 202.591.3305, (c) 202.557.4291

July 13, 2012, Washington, D.C. – Two weeks ago, Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Mike Honda (D-CA), on behalf of the 43 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), wrote to Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging her to end the discriminatory National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).  NSEERS is a long discredited program launched by the federal government in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The program, in part, required male visitors from predominantly Muslim nations to register with the federal government for fingerprinting, photographs, and lengthy, invasive interrogations. The implementation of NSEERS revealed it to be ineffective and a clear example of racial profiling.

In the letter, Representative Chu and Honda note recent policy shifts made by DHS to minimize the impacts of NSEERS, however they insist these changes are insufficient and continue to keep the infrastructure of the discriminatory program intact.  The congressional members urge DHS to ensure all individuals impacted by the program are addressed and call for the full termination of NSEERS.  DHS Office of the Inspector General has called for similar reforms, as have 85 advocacy organizations.

“We commend members of CAPAC for speaking out against NSEERS and our government’s continued endorsement of this program.  As the members of Congress note, NSEERS directly challenges fundamental principles of fairness and equality and promotes false assumptions about people of a particular religion and people of certain  nationalities.  We join these members of Congress in calling for the full dismantling of the NSEERS program,” stated Margaret Huang, executive director of Rights Working Group.

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Rights Working Group (RWG) formed in the aftermath of September 11th to promote and protect the human rights of all people in the United States. A coalition of more than 340 local, state and national organizations, RWG works collaboratively to advocate for the civil liberties and human rights of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, citizenship or immigration status.