APRIL 2003

• Immigration and Naturalization Service

• The New York City Mayor's Office Of Immigrant Affairs and Language Services

• Citizenship NYC

• New York Immigration Hotline

• National Immigration Forum

• Genealogical Resources in the New York Metropolitan Area

• America Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Law Foundation

• Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force

• Glossary

Local: General

• Archdiocese of New York Immigrant and Refugee Services

• Citizens Committee For New York City

• Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Local: Specific

• Asian Americans for Equality

• Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

• CARECEN-N.Y.

• Chinese Progressive Association

• Emerald Isle Immigration Center of New York

• Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York

• National Association of Korean Americans

• National Coalition for Haitian Rights

 

 

Special Registration
From The World Journal
March 22, 2003

Air travel from New York to Southeast Asia has dwindled in the wake of the widespread outbreak of pneumonia in Asia and the onset of war against Iraq. However, flights to Indonesia have been packed as the deadline for the Special Registration program, required for males from 25 countries, approaches. Many Indonesian citizens of Chinese descent are afraid to reveal their illegal status and are packing their bags to go home.

The program was introduced to monitor non-citizens living in the United States after the 9/11 attacks. 25 countries are listed because of possible links to terrorist groups and are mostly Muslim countries in central Asia and northern Africa, including Indonesia, where there is a large Chinese population.

Men from those countries living and working in the United States have to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The deadline is April 25 for citizens of Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait. Those who do not comply run the risk of being deported and it might affect their future application for a visa. Many Chinese Indonesians are leaving the country or preparing to hide.

A worker on the Upper East Side, who calls himself Eddie, just quit his job and is returning to Jakarta. He said he overstayed his visa and will be arrested if he goes to the registration. He decided that he should return to Indonesia first and then try to come back.

Like many new and illegal immigrants, Eddie relied on a unique network shared by his fellow Chinese Indonesians. He added that Chinese Indonesians share some similar characteristics that he can tell by just one look on the street. Although there is no formal organization, most of them are still able to stay in touch, which is how he found his job. Most Chinese Indonesians work in upscale Chinese restaurants because they speak English, he added.

Eddie said he called the Indonesian Consulate in New York regarding the issue and was told he should go home. Being here alone, Eddie decided that he would go home to visit his parents but many others are staying to try their luck.

Sin Yen Ling, a lawyer at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said the Special Registration program is a big violation of human rights, and only affects Muslim countries, which is why immigrant groups have been fighting against the program. She said she hopes that the Chinese community can pay attention to this issue as Indonesia has a sizable Chinese population.

Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung

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