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Homeland Security


National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS)

The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), also known as Special Registration, was put in place after September 11, 2002 to keep track of those entering and leaving the U.S. in order to safeguard U.S. citizens and America’s borders. NSEERS was the first step taken by the Department of Justice (DOJ)and then by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to comply with the development of the Congressionally- mandated requirement for a comprehensive entry-exit program.

Through the Special Registration system, the U.S. government can keep track of the more than 35 million nonimmigrant visitors who enter the United States as well as some nonimmigrant visitors already in the United States. These individuals are required to register with immigration authorities either at a port of entry or a designated ICE office in accordance with the special registration procedures.

This new system will better track alians who might present the highest threat to the U.S. The initiative was designed to:

  • Deploy a pilot entry-exit program as quickly as possible, focusing on aliens who present the highest risk of involvement in terrorist organizations.
  • Disrupt the activities of terrorists residing in the United States under false pretenses.
  • Notify the FBI and other law enforcement agencies when aliens purporting to visit the United States for legitimate reasons deviate from their stated plans.
  • Notify the FBI and other law enforcement agencies when aliens overstay the terms of their non-immigrant visas.
  • Match the fingerprints of high-risk aliens entering against the fingerprints of known or suspected terrorists at the port of entry.
  • Obtain fingerprint and photograph data on aliens from high-risk countries for law enforcement use.
  • Obtain current address, telephone, and email information on aliens from high-risk countries.
  • Enforce the law requiring aliens to notify the Attorney General when they change address.

Individual visitors will be evaluated as to risk of involvement with terrorist activities, and visitors who fall into elevated categories of national security concern will be subject to additional registration requirements. The INS and the State Department will work together to identify these individuals at or prior to entry. The criteria that are used to identify such visitors will be continually updated to reflect the US's evolving intelligence on terrorist threats. This initiative will require fingerprinting, photographing, and registration requirements on the following:

  • All nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria
  • Certain nationals of other countries whom the State Department and the INS determine to be an elevated national security risk
  • Aliens identified by INS inspectors at point of entry upon specific criteria to be established by the Department of Justice.

Fingerprint data to identify criminals, wanted aliens, or terrorists willbe used at ports of entry. Two-fingerprint scanning capabilities already exist at all ports of entry. The Department of Justice has developed an integrated database using two-fingerprint sets derived from approximately 100,000 aliens. The fingerprints of aliens in secondary inspection were being matched against the entire database to identify wanted felons in less than two minutes. The early results of this program were extremely promising: the INS was receiving an average of 67 hits per week, and over 1,400 individuals had been apprehended from January through May, 2002.

If an alien arrives who potentially could pose a national security risk, he is immediately fingerprinted and photographed. An alien subject to special registration with a two-year work visa, for example, would be required to do the following: upon arrival at the INS port of entry in the United States, he would be directed to a secondary inspection station. There, he would immediately be fingerprinted (two-fingers only) and photographed.

Alien's fingerprints will be run against the IAFIS database of known criminals and a database of known terrorists. His fingerprints would be run against the IAFIS database of known criminals and known terrorists, a database of known terrorists, and the INS IDENT database to determine if he had previously entered the country under a different name.

Alien Would Be Asked to Provide Information About His Plans in the U.S. While the computer check was taking place, he would be asked to provide detailed information about his plans in the United States and about his past history in his home country, as well as contact information.

The Process Would Be Quick and Require Follow-Up. The entire process would take 5-10 minutes. Within 30 days, he would have to report to an INS office and provide more detailed information consistent with his visa, including proof of residence (e.g., a rental contract) and proof of employment (e.g., a pay statement from his employer). Twelve months thereafter he would have to return to confirm the information.

An Alien Must Notify The INS:

  • If he changed his address, he would be required to notify the INS by mail.
  • If he left the country, he would have to report briefly to an INS station at the port of departure.

If An Alien Failed To Comply, His Name Would Be Added To A Wants And Warrants List. If an alien failed to register or overstayed his visa, the INS computer system would immediately alert the INS to the fact. His name and information would then be added to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) A wants and warrants list. If local police happened to stop him because of a traffic violation, when they checked the NCIC list they would discover that he was wanted. The police would then be able to detain him, call an INS Quick Response Team, and transfer him to the custody of the INS. Depending upon the nature of his violation, he would at a minimum be removable, and possibly be subject to criminal prosecution.



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