- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

TORONTO The Canadian government issued a travel advisory this week with a twist: It suggests that its citizens born in Iraq, Syria and other countries targeted by U.S. anti-terrorism policies consider avoiding travel to the United States.
The advisory issued Monday focuses on a U.S. regulation adopted a year after the September 11 attacks that permits American authorities to closely monitor travelers born in certain countries suspected of terrorism links.
Canada considers the system discriminatory because it targets citizens based on where they were born, said Reynald Doiron, a foreign-affairs department spokesman.
"It's against basic principles on both sides of the border," Mr. Doiron said yesterday. "Canadian citizens should be exempted from that measure."
Phone messages left yesterday morning with the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa went unanswered.
A man holding joint Canadian-Syrian citizenship was detained Sept. 26 while changing planes at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and deported to Syria. Canada protested the deportation of Maher Arar, 32, saying he should have been sent to Canada owing to his Canadian citizenship and residence.
Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan are the countries listed in the U.S. National Security Entry Exit Registration System introduced on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The system authorizes the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to photograph, fingerprint and monitor the arrival and departure of visitors born in or citizens of those nations.
The Canadian travel advisory notes that people from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen "could also attract special attention from American immigration and security authorities."
"In these circumstances, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade advises Canadians who were born in the above countries or who may be citizens of these countries to consider carefully whether they should attempt to enter the United States for any reason, including transit to or from third countries," the advisory said.
Mr. Arar, a telecommunications engineer, was returning home to Montreal from a trip to Tunisia when he was stopped by U.S. authorities in New York.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham protested the deportation to U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci. Mr. Graham said U.S. officials told him they believed they could send Mr. Arar to Syria because of his Syrian citizenship.
Canada has generally acceded to U.S. demands for greater border security since the December 1999 arrest of Ahmed Ressam, who tried to cross into Washington state from British Columbia with explosives in the trunk of his car.
Ressam was convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations and is scheduled to be sentenced this year.
None of the September 11 hijackers had known links to Canada.
Canada has joined the United States in tightening border security while trying to ensure that commercial traffic continues flowing smoothly to feed the world's biggest trade partnership, worth more than $1 billion a day.

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