The Obama Administration is, at last, formally dismantling the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, a program that hasn’t been used since 2011 but which could’ve been the basis for Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim registry. NSEERS subjected immigrants from certain countries to constant monitoring and was a huge failure, both of which sound like things that would be very attractive to Trump.
The New York Times reported today that the Obama Administration will be actively taking apart NSEERS on their way out the door, a move the paper called “largely symbolic” since the program hasn’t been used in five years.
NSEERS was put into place after September 11, 2001, and in it, people from “higher risk” countries had to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting when they got here, and, if they were men over 16, had to register and check in at government offices. “Port-of-entry” registration began with Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria, and the people required to check in at an INS office were from 25 countries, most of them majority-Muslim.
The ACLU called NSEERS “ineffective and discriminatory,” which it was: it didn’t lead to a single conviction for terrorism, but did get nearly 14,000 people deported for failure to comply with its incredibly strict guidelines. As it turns out, national origin isn’t a good predictor for whether someone will be a terrorist.
But because we are allergic to learning things in this country, Kris Kobach is reportedly under consideration to head the Department of Homeland Security, a man who worked for the Department of Justice under George W. Bush, where he helped implement the program. As far as we know, Trump’s vague proposal for more than a year on The Muslims would be to subject them to some kind of registry. CNN sources told the network that proposed registry would be “similar” to NSEERS.
Trump isn’t really answering questions on where the Muslim registry and/or ban stands right now, other than to tell reporters “You know my plans” just after the terrorist attack at a Christmas market in Berlin.