The Immigration and Naturalization Service is stepping up enforcement of a 50-year-old law requiring foreigners to alert the government within 10 days when they change addresses.
The new policy was signaled by a proposed rule change announced Monday by Attorney General John Ashcroft. The rule will require the government to update nearly three dozen immigration forms to better explain and give notice to foreigners that they must report any move to the government.
"By clarifying the existing requirement that noncitizens report their addresses to the INS, we are able to increase our ability to locate quickly an alien if removal proceeding must be initiated," Ashcroft said.
The government did not announce an increase in INS agents to accommodate the change.
Congressional critics have charged the INS with being lax in tracking down foreign residents who do not report an address change. Punishment for not reporting a move has been rare.
A Justice Department official told the Associated Press that the rule change was meant to "shift the responsibility from the government to the immigrant for making sure the government knows where the person is located."
The official said the rule is meant as a warning that foreigners who fail to comply could face deportation.
Immigrant advocacy groups said the policy is overreaching.
"The attorney general is threatening to put people in jail and have them deported for the equivalent of having an overdue library book," said Angela Kelley, a director of the National Immigration Forum in Washington.
"It is ludicrous to believe this is going to keep us safe from terrorism. No terrorist is going to turn in a change of address form. This is only going to hurt the law-abiding immigrants who are trying to keep pace with all the things we require."
U.S. soldiers take over
KABUL, Afghanistan _ President Hamid Karzai has sidelined his Afghan bodyguards and called in U.S. troops to replace them in a sign of rising security fears after the murder of an Afghan vice president, his aide said Monday.
Diplomats said the move followed "serious threats" against Karzai, some believed to have come from within his Cabinet. About 50 guards who were replaced were part of the 10,000-strong force of fighters loyal to Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld called the change a "short-term" measure to ensure stability.
"We look at it as a relatively short-term matter" to last several weeks or months, Rumsfeld said, adding that the United States would help train Afghan bodyguards for Karzai.
"Clearly, it is important for that country that the outcome of the loya jirga not be negated by violence," Rumsfeld said, referring to the Afghan grand council which chose Karzai last month to head the two-year transitional government.
Concern over Karzai's safety has soared after the unsolved killing this month of Vice President Abdul Qadir, said presidential spokesman Said Fazel Akbar.
pleads guilty to lying
NEW YORK _ A Saudi student who briefly shared a room with Zacarias Moussaoui in Oklahoma pleaded guilty Monday to making false statements, including lying to the FBI about their plans to visit New York in August.
Hussein al-Attas, 24, entered the plea to seven charges in U.S. District Court as part of a deal that keeps him in the country to testify, if needed, against Moussaoui, the only person charged with conspiring to help the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers.
Under the plea agreement, al-Attas faces up to six months in prison.