Special Registration: Turning a blind eye to violations

The Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Javed Ashraf Qazi, met with Ashcroft regarding the special registration of Pakistanis by INS.

[The Ambassador] asked Ashcroft to allow Pakistani nationals to take advantage of a general amnesty announced by the Clinton administration in 2000.

Qazi also demanded sympathetic treatment for those Pakistani students and workers who had come to America legally but might have later committed minor offences.

He urged the US administration to help divided families, and those who had married American nationals, in legalizing their status in the US.

[…]The ambassador emphasized the need to ensure that those Pakistanis who had cases pending for adjustment of status with the INS, were not detained or put into deportation proceedings, APP adds. Similarly, he requested that Pakistani nationals holding F1 and H1 visas be treated with dignity and respect and that minor blemishes on their records be condoned.

He proposed that all Pakistanis who were residents of the US and had no blemishes on their records should be given the opportunity to regularize their status.

Even though I think special registration is not useful for national security, the ambassador’s demands are wrong and stupid. Asking the INS to ignore violation of immigration laws is fraught with problems. I believe that they should enforce immigration laws the best they can, otherwise it would just become mockery of the law. I would definitely prefer those laws to be applied to everyone regardless of national origin, but the law must still be applied to those going for special registration.

NOTE: I just found out that special registration is for nationals and citizens of the countries listed. INS defines them as:

Citizen: A person owing allegiance to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state.

National: A person owing permanent allegiance to a state.

Does that mean someone who was born in Pakistan but is no longer a Pakistani citizen has to register as well?

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3 Comments.

  1. I think the answer to that is yes. Any non-citizen born in Pakistan must register. Canadians born in Pakistan must register if visiting the USA.

    (Isn’t birth, not citizenship, the criteria used?)

    One question though — how does one get rid of Pakistani citizenship? Some countries do not allow you to renounce citizenship (e.g. Syria). Does Pakistan?

    If it is “nationals” or “citizens” that must register, I would have to as well (though I was not born in Pakistan). Pakistani citizenship is hereditary, for at least one generation.

    All so complicated. Easier to just avoid the USA.

  2. I don’t think one can legally renounce Pakistani citizenship.

    If you were not born in Pakistan and have not claimed citizenship there, I would think you are safe.

    Let’s say a Canadian was born in Saudi Arabia. He or his parents were never Saudis. Saudi Arabia also does not grant citizenship to all those born there. So does this Canadian guy have to register?

  3. No, I was not born in Pakistan, but my parents were. I recieved a Pakistani passport by virtue of being the son of a Pakistani (I believe I can pass it down as well — if I so chose).

    I don’t think I need to register if I take a trip across the border.