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Homeland Security ends program targeting Muslims

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ended a controversial program targeting men from majority-Muslim countries.

The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) began in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The program required men from predominantly Muslim nations and North Korea living in the U.S. to be interviewed and fingerprinted by Homeland Security.

The government now calls the program “redundant” and quietly ended it last month.

Imad Hamad, Midwest Regional Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, says he thinks the program had “good intentions”-- but unfairly singled out Muslims.

“Policies and regulations should be implemented against people and citizens equally, without having any notion of a special focus simply because of origin or race or faith or ethnicity.”

The program didn’t result in any terrorism prosecutions. But Hamad says it caused thousands of Muslim men to be deported for minor immigration violations.

Hamad calls ending the “ineffective” program “a step in the right direction.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.