The next President’s “Extreme Vetting” of Muslim immigrants may rely on post-9/11 provision.
THE NSEERS PROGRAM REGISTRATION
If President Trump decides to implement his promise of extreme vetting of certain muslim immigrants, he can utilize an existing law passed in response to the 9/11 attacks. The NSEERS ( National Security Entry-Exit Registration System ) program was created by regulation in November, 2002, to vet persons from certain countries who were already in the U.S. , as were the Islamic radicals involved in 911, most having student visas.
From August 2002 until April 2011, nonimmigrants from 25 predominantly Arab and Muslim countries were required to register under the NSEERS program each time they arrived in or departed from the United States, or had to obtain a waiver of these requirements. NSEERS required immigrants present in the U.S. from Muslim-majority, Arab, and South Asian countries to register their presence, fingerprints, and photographs with local immigration offices or officers at U.S. ports of entry. While the Obama administration discontinued the reporting requirements of NSEERS in 2011, the law still exists and could be renewed by simple executive order.
DISCRIMINATION OR SECURITY?
Following its passage in 2002, The NSEERS program was criticized by human rights groups as excessively discriminatory and ultimately ineffective. Other non-partisan reports showed that it may have been an effective law enforcement tool. E.g., 83,000 men complied with the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System program, and more than 13,000 of them were placed in deportation proceedings. An inspector General (OIG) report in 2011 stated that the program was obsolete and should be eliminated.