One of Donald Trump’s most controversial claims was his plans to track Muslim Americans. Although many of his supporters embraced the idea, his critics immediately drew comparisons to Nazi Germany. In recent days, many technology firms and workers have stated they will not help build a tracking system. President Obama is also fighting back.
After September 11, the federal government created a system for tracking Muslim immigrants. It was called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS. The government focused NSEERS on 25 high-risk countries, 24 of which were primarily Muslim.
One part of NSEERS limited the ways people on the registry could enter and exit the country. Registrants could only use some airports. They also had to report to the government before they left.
The other part of NSEERS focused on adult men. When they moved to the United States from the 25 countries under surveillance, they had to report their activities to immigration officials. This portion was ended in 2003.
The entry-exit half of NSEERS was dismantled in 2011. The Department of Homeland Security found that NSEERS was prone to errors, full of useless data and cost $10 million per year to run. However, the agency opted to keep the program in place for potential future use.
President Obama can’t do much in his remaining four weeks in office, but he is completely dismantling NSEERS. This move ensures that President-Elect Trump won’t find it easy to start tracking Muslims once he takes office in January. Of course, Trump can simply order a different system constructed, but he might have trouble finding someone to build it for him. Maybe he can ask Barron for his help with “the cyber” and see what happens.