CLINIC applauds end of NSEERS immigrant registry program

Dec 22, 2016

SILVER SPRING, Maryland – The Obama administration had welcome news with its Dec. 22 announcement that it will permanently dismantle the National Security Exit-Entry Registration System, known as NSEERS.
 
CLINIC Executive Director Jeanne Atkinson said the decision, which is effective Dec. 23, “is a victory for our Muslim brothers and sisters, and all people of faith and good conscience.”
 
The program was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to enable the government to track visiting or immigrant men from predominantly Muslim countries. It has not been used since 2011, after it was found to be largely ineffective at its purpose but very disruptive to immigrant communities. The regulatory structure for the program remained on the books, however, and it could have easily been reinstated.
 
Atkinson noted that along with other faith groups, CLINIC has since 2003 argued for dismantling NSEERS. “Not only was it discriminatory and failed to lead to the capture of terrorists,” Atkinson said. “It broke apart families when people were deported for such things as being a day late in fulfilling its requirements due to an auto accident.”
 
President-elect Donald Trump has said he would create a registry for people from predominantly Muslim countries. The Obama administration’s action does not prevent that from happening. But by dismantling the existing legal structure, a new system of registration would require the creation of new regulations.