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?