NEW YORK (CN) – The U.S. government did not violate the constitutional rights of visitors from two dozen Arab and Muslim countries and North Korea by requiring them to register with immigration authorities after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
Several men challenged their deportation orders, set into motion by a mandatory “Special Call-In Registration Program,” part of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System instituted by the U.S. attorney general in the wake of Sept. 11.
The program required males from 24 Arab and predominately Muslim countries and North Korea to appear for registration and fingerprinting. Each petitioner was then placed in deportation proceedings and ordered deported.
The petitioners said the program, which has since been phased out, lacked statutory authorization, violated their equal protection rights and discriminated against Muslims.
However, Judge Winter called the program a “plainly rational attempt to enhance national security.” The judge said the program did not pick on Muslims, but targeted men from countries known for harboring radical Islamic groups, which pose a “major threat of terrorist attacks.”
Winter added that the petitioners “had no right to remain in the country while not cooperating in the program.”