Taking Weapon Out of Trump's Arsenal, Obama Finally Kills Bush-Era Muslim Registry

With a President Donald Trump on the horizon, civil liberties advocates applauded President Barack Obama on Thursday after his administration announced the end of a federal registration program for Muslim and Arab immigrants.

Established by the George W. Bush administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) was criticized since its inception as regressive attempt to profile individuals based on their national heritage and religion.

Though the provision has been dormant since enforcement of it was blocked in 2011, Thursday’s announcement signals the government’s official cancellation of the policy. According to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security, “the regulatory structure pertaining to NSEERS no longer provides a discernible public benefit as  the program has been rendered  obsolete.” 

Though the ACLU long argued the program never offered a “discernible public benefit,” the group welcomed the announcement.

“NSEERS was a completely failed counter-terrorism tool and massive profiling program that didn’t yield a single terrorism conviction in nearly a decade,” said Joanne Lin, ACLU senior legislative counsel. “The ACLU applauds the Obama administration for terminating NSEERS for good. With this action, the U.S. is on the right path to protect Muslim and Arab immigrants from discrimination.”

The move by the outgoing president appears to be the latest counter-measure against President-elect Trump, who made the establishment of a Muslim registry a cornerstone of his campaign.