Canada Lifts Travel Advisory
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TORONTO (AP) _ Canada has lifted a travel advisory for citizens born in Iraq, Syria and other countries targeted by U.S. anti-terrorism policies to avoid trips to the United States.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said the advisory was lifted because of U.S. assurances Canadian citizens would not undergo special security screening based only on where they were born.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft confirmed that policy Thursday at a news conference in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
The U.S. National Security Entry Exit Registration System, set up after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, authorizes border officials to fingerprint and photograph people who were born in or are citizens of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan.
Canada had complained the policy was discriminatory for focusing on place of birth.
Ashcroft said birthplace was not an automatic referral into the registration system, but added that citizens of any country could come under increased monitoring.
``No nation is exempt,″ he said. ``If a person comes and in the judgment of the person at the border they qualify for, or meet criteria that is intelligence-based that relates to preventing terrorism, they can be referred.″
While Ashcroft made clear that Canadians holding dual citizenship in any of the five designated countries would come under automatic screening, he denied the policy amounted to racial profiling.
``It is not based on ethnic criterion or religious criterion,″ he said. ``It is based on intelligence data″ and nations considered sponsors of terrorism.