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Obama Dismantles Framework Targeting Muslims and Iranians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: (202) 386-6408
Email: jamal@niacaction.org

Washington, DC – NIAC Action applauds the Obama Administration’s decision to officially terminate the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), the post-9/11 program that tracked and discriminated against immigrants from predominately Muslim nations, including Iran.

“This is a major victory for communities who fear they will be targeted in the Trump era,” said NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi. “Dismantling the NSEERS framework ensures that Donald Trump will not inherit a nascent program to track and register immigrants from Muslim-majority countries.”

The NSEERS program was instituted after 9/11 and targeted immigrants, predominately from Muslim-majority nations, for fingerprinting, interrogation, regular check-ins and – in many instances – deportation proceedings solely on the basis of their national origin and religious background. The program was phased out and eventually suspended in 2011, but never officially dismantles. 

Many feared NSEERS would be resurrected under a Trump Administration to quickly impose a “Muslim registry.” Weeks ago, top immigration advisor to Trump was photographed in a meeting with the President-elect with documents outlining how to resurrect NSEERS. Yesterday, President-elect Trump suggested his calls for a “Muslim registry” were vindicated and he would indeed be moving forward with such a program.  

“The Obama administration took a key step today to protect the civil liberties and values that define America,” said Abdi. “But our community, and all Americans, will need to continue mobilize to prevent new discriminatory programs from being constituted under the incoming administration,” 

In the past few weeks, tens of thousands of advocates wrote to President Obama urging him to rescind NSEERS. Nearly 200 civil and immigrant rights groups sent a letter urging Obama to take this step. And 51 House lawmakers, led by Representatives Keith Ellison, Zoe Lofgren, Luis Gutiérrez, sent a letter urging President Obama to rescind NSEERS.

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