Taking a rare political action against an incoming president-elect, President Barack Obama is moving forward in a symbolic gesture to clean up some legal leftovers to complicate Donald Trump’s commitment to placing Muslim citizens and visitors on a watch list.
Existing laws were already in place to allow such watch lists to be created – shortly after 9/11, George W. Bush allowed the creation of these strict laws which required Muslim immigrants to report for interviews and be subject to terrorist interrogations at the government’s whim.
According to the Huffington Post:
“The registry, known as National Security Entry-Exit Registration (NSEERS), was created shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. It required men 16 and older from certain countries to register in person with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and submit to questioning and fingerprinting when entering the U.S. By 2003, the list of designated countries had swelled from a handful to 25, with 24 of them majority-Arab or Muslim.”
Those laws have not been used since 2010, but they remained on the books – until now.
Though the action is largely symbolic, the Obama administration has moved to remove these laws from the books, making Donald Trump have to rebuild his own Muslim registry from scratch.
The Department of Homeland Security said that the laws will be removed effective immediately thanks to the president’s commitment.
Donald Trump used his proposed Muslim ban as a major campaign grab for frightened Americans whose hyper focus on Muslims has been inflamed since 9/11. Now, rather than seeking unity as even George W. Bush did in relation to Muslims, Donald Trump has only doubled down on his commitment to disenfranchise the group while working to alienate the rest of the nation from a massive religious group.
Of course with such a dubious cast surrounding Trump, the proposed Muslim ban and registry seems to be an alarming policy platform that might get forced into place. But in Obama’s view, at least now he’s done his part to complicate the issue.