The Obama administration officially announced they will do away with the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEER). The post-9/11 program requires immigrant men from predominantly Muslim countries to register with the federal government, though the program hasn’t been used since 2011. However, rumors that President-elect Donald Trump might renew the program reportedly spurred the Obama administration into action.
The move is being called a preemptive road block by the Obama administration to make it more difficult for the Trump administration to create its own registration system for Muslim immigrants. Trump has not publicly spoken about creating such a program. However, comments made by Trump advisor and Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, Trump is in favor of creating an updated system for foreigners from certain “high risk” areas.
Last month, Kobach met with Trump and discussed a document titled “Department of Homeland Security Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days” which reportedly made rebooting NSEERS a top priority for Trump’s first year in office. The program originally called for men from high risk areas, such as many Middle Eastern countries and North Korea, to be photographed and fingerprinted.
Opponents of the program claim it does little more than whittle away at the civil liberties of people based on their race or religious affiliation. The American Civil Liberties Union has opposed the program since it was first proposed. One notable opponent of NSEER, Spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department Neema Hakim, commented on the program, calling it “not only obsolete… its use would divert limited personnel and resources from more effective measures.”
Supporters of NSEER have argued that the program doesn’t target people based on religious affiliation or race but instead issues a red flag from individuals from high risk geographical areas known to produce terrorists. They have also noted that the program has never prohibited or limited travel for men from those areas.
The Obama administration is expected to publish its decision to do away with NSEER in the Federal Register on December 23, 2016.