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Khan still promoting NSEERS awareness

Student body president Omar Khan and vice president Ryan Morris are continuing their efforts to promote awareness of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, NSEERS singles out legal aliens from a list of countries to attend a special registration where they are fingerprinted and interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security immigration officials.

The pair got involved with the issue back in April when some students approached them about NSEERS and its regulations. Since then, Khan and Morris have tried to promote awareness at USF, the Florida Student Association and to other universities around the nation.

Khan said Tuesday that since beginning their campaign the Student Government Senate has allocated them $1,400 to travel to Washington D.C. As of now, Khan said SG is putting together an agenda to meet with Congressmen about NSEERS.

“We are trying to put something together and travel to D.C. I have a specific plan on what I want to get accomplished in D.C.,” Khan said. “If we can benefit from going, we will go. If not then we are not going to waste the students’ money.”

NSEERS was implemented a year after the Sept. 11 attacks to track and register male foreign nationals over the age of 16 from the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Subsequently, several more countries have been added to the list.

Khan and Morris have expressed their concern over NSEERS to USF President Judy Genshaft and the FSA, which represents all student governments when lobbying on state and federal governments on student issues. They also have been emphasizing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Khan has said SEVIS, which was implemented last year and required full national compliance by Aug. 1, treats all students equally.

Both programs are linked to the Department of Homeland Security, however, SEVIS is an Internet-based system used to transmit information to the Department of Homeland Security through the universities. The International Student and Scholar Services at USF is required to make sure the international students’ information is updated and in the system so the federal government is notified.

Khan and Scott Ross, executive director of FSA, are preparing a press release to be sent to other universities in the state and nationwide, Khan said. In addition, the release will be delivered to several media organizations.

“We want to let people know and show Congress that there is an established voting block of people that are behind this,” Khan said.

Khan, along with other SG members, has been contacting Congressmen in Washington and he is hoping they will travel there in late April.

Khan said that the Arab-American Student Alliance and Leadership organization is working with him to put together an information event to notify those about registration requirements for NSEERS.

“We want to let people know about NSEERS and inform them,” he said.

The event will take place sometime in January or February when the bulk of the registration takes place. Information tables will be set up around campus to hand out pamphlets to those that NSEERS affects and those it does not affect.

“We want people and Congress to know that NSEERS is depriving students of their education and is discriminatory,” Khan said.