With Donald Trump less than 29 days away from being sworn into office, President Obama is acting quickly to ensure that Trump cannot fulfill one of his most dangerous policy proposals.
On Thursday, the current president moved to dismantle a registry that was previously created after Sept. 11 to track visitors from countries mostly composed of Muslim populations.
BREAKING: Obama administration dismantles special registration system for Muslim and Arab immigrants. https://t.co/X7BaC7MMaC
— ACLU National (@ACLU) December 22, 2016
As Vox noted earlier, the program “forced people from 25 countries to register with the federal government and check in for follow-ups. It resulted in the deportation of about 13,000 people. It did not result in any convictions for terrorism or related crimes.”
While the registry was so ineffective that the government stopped using it just a year and a half after its creation, Obama’s decision to disassemble it would make it much harder for Trump to create his own database for Muslims.
In a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday, the agency did not reference Trump, but they said the program was “obsolete” and “redundant.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is removing outdated regulations relating to an obsolete special registration program for certain nonimmigrants. DHS ceased use of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program in 2011 after finding that the program was redundant, captured data manually that was already captured through automated systems, and no longer provided an increase in security in light of DHS’s evolving assessment of the threat posed to the United States by international terrorism.
Instead of easily reviving an existing program, Obama is daring Trump to start from scratch, which would entail a much more difficult process and give opposition groups time to mobilize against him. The president’s decision doesn’t make it impossible for Trump to create his desired registry, but he certainly made it a lot harder.
While Obama will soon leave the White House, this last-minute move will likely protect America from one of his successor’s most dangerous policy proposals.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.