President Obama's administration will formally end a registry program created after 9/11 to monitor visitors traveling to the U.S. from countries with active terrorist groups, reports the New York Times. This move comes weeks before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, who made known during his presidential campaign his intent to set up a national registry for Muslims and temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from the U.S.
On Dec. 21, when asked about his plans in light of the Dec. 19 terrorist attack in Berlin, Trump replied, “You know my plans.” Later, a spokesperson for Trump said that Trump’s statement wasn’t reaffirmation of his campaign promises, but rather only meant that he would keep from entering the U.S. people from countries that contain the presence of active Islamist extremism.
From the New York Times report:
... Democratic lawmakers, mayors from cities with large foreign-born populations and some business leaders in Silicon Valley [called] on Mr. Obama to undo the legal framework that undergirds the program.
That can be done with a rule change. The Department of Homeland Security submitted such a rule change for public posting on Thursday morning, and it is set to be published in the federal registry on Friday.
“D.H.S. ceased use of Nseers more than five years ago, after it was determined the program was redundant, inefficient and provided no increase in security,” Neema Hakim, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement. The program is “not only obsolete” and “outdated,” but diverts personnel and resources from other areas that are seen as more effective, the statement said.
Obama’s decision to undo the legal framework of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) is an answer to the petitioning of nearly 200 religious and civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Muslim Advisory Council, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Kris Kobach, one of the architects of NSEERS, was appointed by Trump to his transition team, and it is feared by many that Trump will revive NSEERS once he takes office.
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