In a parting shot during his final month in office, President Barack Obama officially scrapped an immigrant registry program, primarily affecting Muslim men put in place as a result of the September 11 terrorist attack, declaring the program to be obsolete.
Clip via RT
Obama stopped enforcing the program — called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS — in 2011. His action Thursday means that it no longer exists.
Neema Hakim, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, declared the registration program to be “not only obsolete,” but also “its use would divert limited personnel and resources from more effective measures,” according to The Associated Press.
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The AP reported that the program:
included fingerprints and photographs. People also were required to notify the government if they changed addresses.
It was President-elect Donald Trump’s intention to use the program to temporarily halt Muslim immigration from countries known to train, harbor and export terrorists, such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
With the dismantling of the program, which affected 25 countries including North Korea, the incoming president will have to start from the beginning should he desire to implement something similar.
Recent events in Europe and elsewhere, including the Christmas market attack in Berlin, have strengthened Trump’s resolve to beef up the vetting process for men wishing to immigrate from war-torn areas of the Middle East.
After the Berlin incident that left 12 dead and dozens injured, including at least one American, Trump told reporters at his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago estate, “You know my plans.”
Trump’s go-to guy on immigration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, announced last month that he wanted to update the NSEERS program for visitors from all “high risk” areas of the world.
The AP reported:
Meeting Trump in New York, Kobach carried a document labeled “Department of Homeland Security Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days.” It described a reboot of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System as the top priority. Kobach helped draft the program while working at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.
If Trump opts to restart NSEERS and create a new program, he will have to start from scratch with a process that includes notifying the public about his plans. That could delay a new effort by months.
Civil libertarians, however, who have widely criticized NSEERS, applaud Obama’s decision to scrap the program.
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“With this action, the U.S. is on the right path to protect Muslim and Arab immigrants from discrimination,” Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said claiming that the registry “didn’t yield a single terrorism conviction in nearly a decade.”
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