MESA Board Letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft regarding fingerprinting and photography requirements of visitors from the Middle East

Attorney General Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:

The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America views with extreme concern your June 5 proposal to fingerprint and photograph visitors to the United States from Middle Eastern countries. Such humiliating procedures will have a profoundly chilling effect on all scholarly and artistic exchanges and discourage visitors from Middle Eastern countries to the United States. These measures will impede the free exchange of information and ideas that allow United States citizens to study and understand Middle Eastern societies and that enable Arabs and Muslims to study and understand American society. We strongly urge that this matter be reconsidered and that no discriminatory measures be taken against ethnically or religiously targeted groups.

Sincerely,
Joel Beinin
President

CC: President George W. Bush
Vice President Dick Cheney
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Ted Kennedy
Senator Patrick Leahy
Congressman Dick Gephardt
Congressman James Sensenbrenner

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