Discrimination? Landed immigrants to be fingerprinted, photographed upon entering U.S. 04/11/2004 3:52:00 PM TORONTO (CP) - New rules requiring landed immigrants to be fingerprinted and photographed before entering the United States start to kick in later this month but are already being decried as racist by some activists. The procedures, which will be in place at the Blue Water Bridge at Sarnia, Ont., starting Nov. 15, also apply to those who need visas to travel south of the border. The visas may be required for business reasons or for Canadians who are engaged to Americans. "In the end . . . we want to know who's knocking on our door," Robert Mocny of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said at a news conference Thursday. "When you know who the individual is, you're more than happy to welcome them into your home." The biometric finger scans and digital photographs are part of the anti-terrorism program called U.S.-VISIT and have been in place at air and sea ports since January. By year's end, the measures will be in place at 17 Canada/U.S. land border crossings and will be at all other points of entry by Dec. 31, 2005. They have already raised the ire of Pat Case, chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. "The effect of this is going to be to disproportionately stop people of colour. There's no question about that," he said. "What is there about the status of being a landed immigrant that makes it more likely that you're going to be a troublemaker? I don't get it." But Mocny dismissed the suggestion that the new measures are racist. "We're very, very transparent with this program," he said. "It doesn't apply to any particular group in any way. This applies across the board to anyone with a visa. . . . I would argue that the program does not discriminate, in fact treats everyone the same." If people do not wish to be fingerprinted, he said, they can simply withdraw their request to enter the United States and return to Canada. The fingerprints will be kept on file and cross-checked with information from the F.B.I. They will be available to homeland security officials in certain instances as well as customs and immigration agents. Of the 11 million travellers who have been fingerprinted under the program so far, 329 have been stopped, said Mocny. None have been identified as terrorists. Although Canadian citizens do not currently have to undergo fingerprinting or photographing, Mocny could not rule out including them at a later date. For his part, Case disagrees with the planned changes, but says if they are going to be implemented, they should apply to everyone." "It has a racist impact," he said. "Do it to the white Canadian businessman too."