The Obama administration is dismantling a discriminatory surveillance system that was used after 9/11 to keep tabs on Arabs and Muslims across the US, in a move that will make it more difficult for president-elect Donald Trump to achieve his goal of introducing a Muslim registry.
Thursday’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that it is tearing down the remnants of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (Nseers) marks the most audacious attempt yet by Barack Obama to place roadblocks in the way of his successor’s declared intentions. A key element of Trump’s bid for the White House was his threat to prevent non-citizen Muslims from entering the US and to keep them under surveillance once inside the country.
The Nseers program was one of the most contentious – and widely hated – elements of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies in the wake of 9/11. More than 80,000 people from 25 listed countries, 24 of which had majority Muslim or Arab populations, were forced onto the scheme in which they were required to provide fingerprints and a photograph and periodically present themselves for in-person interviews with DHS officers.