Saturday, December 24, 2016

Obama makes it more difficult for Trump's proposed Muslim registry

Protestors voiced their opposition to Donald Trump's proposal for a Muslim registry.
By Louis Chan

ASIAN/AMERICANS are praising a move by President Obama that would make it more difficult for President-elect Trump to set up a Muslim registry.

“We stand ready to oppose any policies that target or profile AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) communities, which the new Administration may put in place, said Elica Vafaie, Staff Attorney, National Security and Civil Rights, Asian Americans Advancing Justice. 

“Regardless of how such policies are packaged, their discriminatory anti-Muslim intent has been well-established by the President-elect’s campaign rhetoric, that was intended to undermine our bedrock Constitutional commitment to religious pluralism and divide us as a nation.”

President Obama has ordered the dismantling of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration Systems (NSEERS) program beginning today. The program was set up after 9/11 as a way to keep track of travelers to and from mostly Muslim countries. President Obama discontinued the program in 2011 arguing it failed to snag a single terrorist. The framework for the program, however, remained in place.

By taking it apart, President Obama is forcing Trump to begin the entire lengthy rule making process all over again. Congress would have to have hearings and debates on the issue during which the stakeholders could air their views.

“I am incredibly relieved that President Obama has taken this step to dismantle NSEERS and make a Muslim registry that much harder to implement,” said Rep Judy Chu (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. This is a program that was deemed so flawed that it was ultimately canceled for isolating the Muslim community while failing to make our country more secure. It should not remain on our books.”

Many Asian Americans have expressed fears a Muslim Registry is a step towards opening up incarceration camps similar to those that imprisoned Japanese Americans during World War II. President-elect Trump made such a registry a cornerstone of his campaign.