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Brazil judge orders U.S. citizens fingerprinted

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BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) -- A Brazilian judge furious at U.S. plans to fingerprint and photograph Brazilians entering the United States has ordered Brazil to do the same to U.S. citizens, police said on Tuesday.

The order, set to go into effect on January 1, came after a government office filed a complaint in federal court over the U.S. measure aimed at millions of foreign travelers.

"Unless the court order is contested in the justice system, it will be complied with," said a spokesman for Brazil's Federal Police, the agency overseeing immigration.

Starting January 5, citizens of countries such as Brazil who need a visa to enter the United States will be fingerprinted and photographed when they pass through immigration at major U.S. airports and seaports.

The procedure is meant to identify people who have violated immigration controls, have a criminal record or belong to groups the U.S. government lists as terrorist organizations.

The checks will not be carried out against citizens of 27 nations who do not need a visa to enter the United States.

"I consider the act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis," said Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva in the court order released on Tuesday.

Brazil currently requires U.S. citizens to have a visa when entering the country.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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