WASHINGTON, Dec 22 (APP): The Obama administration is removing
regulations the Bush administration used in 2002-03 to make foreigners from largely Muslim-majority countries register with US immigration authorities, rules rights activists fear could be used by President-elect Donald Trump to establish registry for Muslims living in the United States.
According to a report by online magazine Politico, the Department of
Homeland Security has filed an official notice that it is deleting the published rule for the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. The program required male foreigners over 16 from 25 to register with the immigration authorities.
Mr. Trump, who is set to assume office on Jan 20, during his campaign,
proposed a temporary ban on immigration of Muslims to the US, but toned down later in the face of widespread criticism to say it will only apply to countries whose nationals have been involved in terrorism against the US or its allies. He also proposed to set up a Muslim Registry of American Muslims.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he indicated he will stick to his
plan on toughening immigration laws that will particularly hurt immigrants from Muslim countries.
The move by the Obama administration is largely symbolic as most
controversial part of the Bush administration’s registration efforts was abandoned in December 2003. But human rights and immigration rights advocates feared Mr. Trump may use the framework to introduce similar rules in line with his avowed policy.
In the notice, the Homeland Security stated that the program was
“obsolete and inefficient” and its deployment will cause to divert personnel and resources from alternative effective measures.
It said that there were measures that were not there at the time of
introducing the program, but now the Department has made significant progress in its ability to identify, screen, and vet all travelers arriving to the United States.
“The regulations behind special registration and the manual collection
of information from non-immigrants date back more than two decades.
They have long been replaced by automated systems that are far better equipped to face the evolving landscape of international terrorism,” DHS spokesman Neema Hakim said.