The Immigration and Naturalization Service’s controversial National Security Entry-Exit Registration System will soon lose all funding if a recent appropriations bill – already passed in the U.S. Senate – passes the House of Representatives. The program requires immigrants from specific, mostly Arab countries to submit detailed personal information like fingerprints to INS.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced the amendment to the bill that would cut the program’s funding.

“We must do more, especially at this difficult time, to uphold America’s long and proud tradition as a nation of immigrants. It is wrong to try to build a wall around our country to strengthen our security,” Kennedy said in a written statement. “Terrorism is the problem – not immigration. We are strong enough to protect our borders and our people, and compassionate enough to welcome those who seek America’s refuge and its promise.”

But many legislators have voiced different opinions on the issue.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Detroit), who voted against the bill, said in a written statement that NSEERS is a “key federal (agency) at the front lines of protecting our homeland.”

Greg Palmore, public affairs officer for Detroit Sector INS, maintains that NSEERS is misunderstood.

“Everybody paralleled it to internment camps and what happened in Germany, but it’s not like anyone’s being detained,” he said. “People need to understand that this is to secure the interior of the United States.”

But some students have doubts about the fairness of the system.

If the government is going to keep personal information on people from some countries, they should do it for all, LSA freshman Stephanie Pershin said. “It will definitely have a lasting effect on our nation’s security, but is it ethical? I don’t know. … Terrorism can occur within any ethnicity.”

Others, however, are not disturbed by INS’s information-gathering and accept its necessity in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I had to have my fingerprints taken when I arrived here,” said Engineering senior Harsh Kanda, who is originally from India, but now a U.S. citizen. “Prior to 9-11, I would have thought it was discriminatory, but after 9-11, you do what you have to.”

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