The White House is reportedly thinking about scrapping a controversial immigration surveillance program that has been dormant since 2011, in the final weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration.
President Obama is considering fully ending the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), according to The Guardian. The program targeted foreigners in the US, from a set of almost exclusively Muslim and Arab-majority countries. The lone exception was North Korea.
Democratic legislators, immigrants rights groups and civil libertarians have all expressed concerns that President-elect Trump could eventually use the mechanism as a springboard to establish a database of Muslims. The White House reportedly shares some of those worries, The Guardian said Monday.
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“[S]crapping NSEERS is actively being considered within the administration as one of the most concrete steps that the current president could take to protect vulnerable groups and individuals from the threatened actions of his successor,” the paper reported.
On Dec 1., dozens of House Democrats wrote President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, asking them to consider “eliminating the apparatus of NSEERS.”
“The program was fundamentally flawed in its false assumption that people of a particular religion or nationality pose a greater national security risk and should be subject to racial profiling,” the lawmakers said.
Signatories included Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), members of the House Judiciary Committee; and Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
On Monday afternoon, administration officials will themselves be able to see opposition to the continued existence of NSEERS. Demonstrators have planned a march calling on President Obama to end the regime.
The protest is set to begin at the Department of Justice, and end a few blocks east, at Lafayette Park, just outside of the White House. Thousands are expected to attend, The Guardian said.