OTTAWA -- A new U.S. photo and fingerprint law is "unconstitutional" and could
affect Canadians travelling south of the border, warned Foreign Affairs Minister
For now, Ottawa is advising Canadian citizens born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria
or Sudan to avoid travelling to the United States. The advisory says anyone born
in those five countries will be fingerprinted and photographed by American authorities.
Ottawa also cautioned individuals born in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Yemen
that they could attract special attention at the U.S. border.
Graham says he has complained to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that
such racial targeting is inappropriate.
In September, U.S. customs officers began to track people born in high-risk
countries, even if they are now citizens of allied nations, such as Canada.
"People only come to this country and get access as landed immigrants and
Canadian citizenship, if we've done thorough security checks. And that's what
I'm telling my American colleague," said Graham.
But the protests have been to no avail. The U.S. has already arrested a Canadian
and deported him to Syria because he also held Syrian citizenship.
Citizenship Minister Denis Coderre, says the new policy creates two classes
"We should send a clear message that a Canadian citizen is a Canadian citizen,
and we're not doing any racial profiling. We should be respectful of that even
from our American friends," he said.
Liberal MP Sarkis Assadourian, a Canadian born in Syria, calls the U.S. policy
"If I want to go the States can you imagine me, as a member of Parliament,
fingerprinted and photographed as a common criminal? Just because I was born in
Syria why should I be a second-class citizen based on my birthplace?"
Graham says his department will continue to register its objections with the
U.S. But he says Canadians shouldn't feel singled out. The Americans are doing
the same thing to citizens of other countries, including France and Britain.
Copyright © 2002 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation