Obama Administration

Obama Officially Kills Bush-Era Muslim Registry Program Before Trump Can Resurrect It

Some 93,000 immigrants were put through the NSEERS program without a single one being convicted on any terrorism charges.

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Pete Souza/ZUMA Press/Newscom

He didn't close Guantanamo Bay, end American drone strikes on foreign countries, or roll back the surveillance operations created after 9/11, but less than a month before leaving office, President Barack Obama killed at least one civil-liberties-violating program from the George W. Bush era.

The Obama administration on Thursday officially shuttered the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS. From 2002 until 2011, NSEERS required visitors from 25 "high risk" countries (24 of them were in the Middle East; North Korea was the other) to register with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, undergo interrogations and fingerprinting when they entered the United States, and periodically check-in at government offices while they were here.

While it was operational, some 93,000 immigrants were put through the NSEERS program without a single one being convicted on any terrorism charges.

That poor track record caused the Obama administration to put the NSEERS program into hibernation in 2011. Thursday's action, though somewhat symbolic because the program hasn't really existed for more than five years, was important because it makes it more difficult for the incoming Trump administration to resurrect NSEERS.

As I wrote last month, members of Trump's transition team were reportedly considering using the registration program as a way to meet The Donald's campaign promise to implement "extreme vetting" for Muslim immigrants. Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and an immigration hardliner who is serving on Trump's transition team, helped develop NSEERS as a member of Bush's Department of Justice.

According to the New York Times, the White House's decision to end the registry "is among the actions being taken in the final weeks of the administration that could prevent, or at least slow, what Democrats fear may be a swift rollback of President Obama's efforts on immigration and climate change."

It's a shame that it took the threat of Donald Trump's inauguration for Obama to do away with NSEERS. The program was an abusive failure. According to the ACLU, NSEERS "singled out immigrant men and boys from designated countries for extraordinary registration requirements with DHS, ranging from an extra half-hour of screening on arrival, through tracking of whereabouts while in the United States, to limitations on points of departure." The scale of profiling was something not seen in the United States since the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II and "Operation Wetback" deportations to Mexico in the 1950s.

It's not hard to figure out why the program failed to identify any potential terrorists. It was, by nature, targeting only law-abiding immigrants. As Reason's Shikha Dalmia wrote last year: "Expecting terrorists to voluntarily stroll to an immigration office to be fingerprinted and IDed is absurd, of course. So the entirely predictable upshot of the program was that although it managed to obtain not a single terrorism-related conviction, it did ruin plenty of lives of peaceful Muslims caught in its dragnet."

KellyAnne Conway, Trump's campaign manager and newly appointed White House aide, told CNN on Thursday the incoming administration would not pursue an immigration policy based on religion. But Trump, following attacks in Germany carried out by ISIS sympathizers, seemed to indicate that restrictions on Muslim immigrants were still part of his plans.

Either way, getting rid of the NSEERS program is worthy of applause, even if I'd prefer to have a president who cares about protecting civil liberties without needing the motivation of protecting his own political legacy.

For more on Obama's legacy and his administration's failure to rein-in Bush era excesses of the War on Terror, pick up a copy of the latest dead-tree edition of Reason (or, if you're a subscriber, you can read Gene Healy's look back at the past eight years here).

NEXT: Congress should act to reclaim its war powers

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  1. Thursday’s action, though somewhat symbolic because the program hasn’t really existed for more than five years, was important because it makes it more difficult for the incoming Trump administration to resurrect NSEERS.

    So why did he wait? Would he have acted differently if Clinton had won the election?

    1. So why did he wait? Would he have acted differently if Clinton had won the election?

      Those questions answer themselves, I think.

      1. “INTRUSIVE GOVERNMENT NOT WIELDED BY US?!?! JUNK IT!!!”

        1. “It’s not tyranny when we do it!”

    2. Because government officials never willingly shut down programs. They like to enjoy the possibility of resurrecting them at any time at the time of their convenience.

      1. *reads own post, makes offering to the Saint of Good Grammar*

        1. And I had the time of the time of my liiiiffffe. No, I never felt this way before…

    3. So why did he wait? Would he have acted differently if Clinton had won the election?

      Lol. LOL.

  2. While it was operational, some 93,000 immigrants were put through the NSEERS program without a single one being convicted on any terrorism charges.

    Wouldn’t that be a good track record? Because those being monitored in the program didn’t commit any terrorism?

    1. I was going to ask that. This appears to be a prevention type set up and it looks to be a roaring success.

      1. Or not, who knows?

        1. I don’t know, either. Did we get more or fewer Islamic terror attacks in the US after Obama suspended use of the program? There seems to have been an uptick on his watch.

          1. Omar Mateen and the San Bernadino guy were born in the U.S., so this program would not have had any impact on those attacks.

            1. San Bernadino guy had a radical immigrant wife. Omar Mateen had previously come to the attention of the Feds, he had been investigated for connections to terrorism by the FBI in 2013 and 2014. During that period, he was placed on the Terrorist Screening Database, but subsequently removed. Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique Mateen, who hosted a TV show called Durand Jirga Show on satellite television network Payam-e-Afghan in 2015 in which he represented himself as a candidate for the President of Afghanistan, and who has expressed gratitude towards the Taliban. So while they immigrated before the program under question, better vetting and monitoring of immigrants from Muslim countries might have been helpful.

              1. Again, this program would not have impacted the main perpetrators of either attack.

                1. San Bernadino’s wife was a main perpetrator of the attack, so it likely would have. As I noted, this particular program would not have impacted Mateen, but a better vetting/monitoring program could very well have impacted his parents had one been in place at that time.

                  1. Ultimately, i blame the Indians for not having a coherent immigration policy in place to vet all those Old World immigrants.

                    1. Huge numbers of them got sick and died in a plague before the bulk of the invasion began.

                      The vikings thought it might be a good idea to settle the continent prior to those events. The natives’ immigration policy resulted enough dead vikings that they returned to plundering Europe and gave up on the idea.

                    2. Ultimately, i blame the Indians for not having a coherent immigration policy in place to vet all those Old World immigrants.

                      How did all that unrestricted immigration work out for the Indians?

                  2. According to her wiki entry she received through screening:

                    Malik entered the United States on a K-1 (fianc?e) visa with a Pakistani passport.[14][29][47] According to a State Department spokesman, all applicants for such visas are fully screened.[48] Malik’s application for permanent residency (a “green card”) was completed by Farook on her behalf in September 2014, and she was granted a conditional green card in July 2015.[47] Obtaining such a green card would have required the couple to prove that the marriage was legitimate.[14][47] As is standard practice,[14][47] as part of her visa application with the State Department and application for a green card, Malik submitted her fingerprints and underwent “three extensive national security and criminal background screenings” using Homeland Security and State Department databases. Malik also underwent two in-person interviews, the first with a consular officer in Pakistan and the second with an immigration officer in the U.S. after applying for a green card.[43] No irregularities or signs of suspicion were found in the record of Malik’s interview with the Pakistani consular officer.[49]

                    1. According to a State Department spokesman,, the State Department determined after the fact that they did nothing wrong and properly investigated her.

                      Sure, why would anyone question that narrative? I believe it.

                    2. And the NSEERS program would have included monitoring, which was not done in this case. Is it possible she may still have slipped through? Sure, no program is infallible, but that doesn’t mean that the perfect should be the enemy of the good. .

              2. Mateen still wouldn’t have been placed in the program even if the FBI had taken the allegations against him seriously.

                The wife was a permanent resident – even if she had been in the program to start with she would have been removed by that point.

                1. So the answer is don’t even bother trying to seriously screen and monitor? Unrestricted Muslim mass immigration it is, then! What could possibly go wrong?

                  1. It’s just going to make it easier to justify completely shutting down immigration from those countries.

                  2. You’ve laid waste to that strawman, WTF. Because people think this program was stupid, wasteful, and useless, they clearly don’t want any measures at all of detecting potential terrorists.

              3. That ‘poor’ track record was not tested by the Obama administration after putting the NSEERS program into hibernation in 2011. How do we know whether it could have flagged someone. The SB wife certainly qualified.

    2. The record of interest would be how many were denied entry or deported.

      1. You don’t just deny entry to, or deport, people for whom you’ve got articulable suspicion, you take them into custody. As nobody is trumpeting reports of such ever occurring, it is reasonable to conclude that the number of terrorists prevented from entering or staying in the country specifically by this program was exactly zero.

        1. You don’t arrest them if you don’t have probable cause, but you do deny entry and or deport if certain suspicious behaviors and activities and history suggest a possible problem.

          1. If someone wants me to believe the program had any worth, they need to provide at least a shred of positive evidence to that effect.

            Your argument amounts to saying not only that the program successfully screened out 100% of potential terrorists, but also that none of those terrorists ever showed up on the radar again — because — in that case, we would’ve had the evidence necessary to argue for the efficacy of the system.

            But we don’t, and I don’t make a habit of believing things for no reason.

            1. All you ask for is positive evidence of terrorist attacks that didn’t happen. Prove to me the locks on your door are necessary by pointing out all the people that didn’t rob you.

              1. That is not the evidence I asked for.

                1. So?

              2. Locks on your door are a personal decision, so even if someone makes a foolish choice, it only affects them. Government policy is an entirely different matter and should beheld to a far, far greater standard. Vast amounts of evidence, at the very least, should be necessary just for the idea to not be laughed out of the room, but even then the policy should be rejected if it conflicts with basic principles.

    3. “Our attempt to catch terrorists caught no terrorists!! This is proof our terrorist-catching methods are working!! Pay raise please!!”

      That’s some state-employee level logic ya got there.

      1. The program wasn’t really designed to “catch” terrorists, it was designed to prevent terrorists from entering in the first place, and to monitor individuals who where let in to prevent terrorism.

    4. Its actually a completely irrelevant track record – neither good nor bad.

      It means that none of these people were a threat *or* the program was incapable of finding those threats. If the former, the only good thing you can say is that the program didn’t generate any false positive, if the latter, the program generates false negatives.

      But in both cases, the program is a waste of money.

      1. Right. There needs to be some metric for success other than “we didn’t find anything”. You can’t just say there might have been something without the program, there’s no way to prove that and it’s stupid to ask (“ask”) people to fund something based on trust alone.

        Maybe if they tested the system similar to the way the TSA is tested, we’d have information to judge it on. Then again, considering the TSA horribly fails it’s own testing and still exists, this program might still be in effect.

    5. post hoc ergo propter hoc.

      Or, if that is a good track record, the damn thing works. Put everyone on a registry. Immigrants and non-immigrants

  3. Hey, what’s the worst that could happen?

  4. Obama Officially Kills Bush-Era Muslim Registry Program Before Trump Can Resurrect It

    You can’t resurrect something before it dies. Obama killing it is necessary condition for Trump resurrecting it.

    1. Yeah, but “before Trump can makes use of the same tools Obama had” doesn’t have the same ring of indignation.

    2. *pages through AD&D Player’s Manual*

      CORRECT!

      1. I guess the director of the program didn’t roll for a save.

      2. Although I guess, if you read the headline another way, it’s technically correct

        “First, Obama kills the program. Second, Trump can resurrect it, because it came after the first”

        Thanks for that “garden path parsing” video, HM!

        1. I, for one, like Roman numerals.

          /shamelesslystolen

        2. Anytime!

          One of my research interests is how adult 2nd language learners deal with syntactic ambiguity in their L2.

          For the time being, I’ve planted my flag in Bates and MacWhinney’s Competition Model, if that means anything to you, but time will tell.

          1. I’ve planted my flag in Bates and MacWhinney’s Competition Model, if that means anything to you

            It means something to me, you sick, twisted man.

          2. Means nothing, but given that my 2nd language is my primary mode of communication these days, I’m looking that shit up!

            1. I have an appointment I need to run to, but I’ll be back in the PM if you want to discuss it. Even if it’s not an accurate model for human language acquisition, it has implications for how we might go about natural language processing (understanding) for computers.

      3. And remember that if the target of your Resurrection is undead, you must destroy the undead before the Resurrection will work.

    3. Right. Trump would have brought it out of hibernation.

      So Boehm blew a chance to make some kind of pun that references the star vehicle that is launching this weekend.

      1. “Trump ressurects Obama era immigration program”

        Would be a simple PR workaround for Obama’s futile indignation cover attempt.

        But that’s if you’re going for nuance, clearly Trump doesn’t care about such details and will just broadside the topic on Twitter.

  5. But Trump, following attacks in Germany carried out by ISIS sympathizers, seemed to indicate that restrictions on Muslim immigrants were still part of his plans.

    Ugh. He was just trolling. He is epic.

    1. He was just saying words.

    2. One more attack like that, and I think there will be many joining that plan…

      Where have we seen this before?

      1. Among gun grabbers?

      2. Oh, I think the Trump administration will definitely try to implement a plan heavily restricting immigration from certain countries.

        1. You know who else didn’t want the “wrong kind” of people in their country?

          1. Every country in the history of countries?

            1. Winner!

          2. People in charge of immigration?

          3. Margaret Sanger?

  6. “singled out immigrant men and boys from designated countries for extraordinary registration requirements with DHS, ranging from an extra half-hour of screening on arrival, through tracking of whereabouts while in the United States, to limitations on points of departure.” I’m sorry but I see no problem with this until they take a citizenship oath.

    1. We need unrestricted large-scale immigration from Muslim countries. Because it’s working out so well for Europe.

      1. I don’t think the German or Swedish governments have heard a single complaint about immigration.

        1. Nor the French!

          1. Nope. All’s well.

      2. Racist!
        Racist!
        Racist!

  7. I’ve seen a clip of Trump at a rally promising “extreme vetting” and I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean rigorous background checks. From the knowing leer and the wild applause, I’m pretty sure everybody knew he meant “enhanced interrogation” for would-be immigrants. Or “enhanced enhanced interrogation” I guess is what he’s promised.

    1. Or “double secret probation”? Because this program sounds exactly like double secret probation. Or am I confusing it with No-Fly List?

    2. It’s dog whistles all the way down!

    3. He is going to torture immigrants?! By reading them the absurd claims of his detractors? True, no one deserves to suffer such imbecility!

      1. I heard he’s going to make them listen to a continuous loop of Barack Obama speeches and see if they crack. If they don’t drown, they are obviously witches …. or something like that.

  8. If Obama can kill it with the stroke of a pen…then it seems like something that could just be revived the same way. This whole process is rather ridiculous to me.

    1. According to the ACLU, if a new administration tried to resurrect it now, they would have to go through the normal waiting periods along with public input. The ACLU argues this would give organizations such as themselves time to publicize the problems.

      1. The ACLU argues a lot of self-serving things that have no real basis in the Constitution or law.

        1. True, but I think most new regulations do require some kind of waiting period and public input.

      2. According to the ACLU, if a new administration tried to resurrect it now, they would have to go through the normal waiting periods along with public input.

        What waiting period? WTF are they talking about?

        1. Publishing it in the Federal Register and a required period for response I’d imagine.

      3. Obama’s final jobs program for lawyers.

  9. though somewhat symbolic

    Something that could be said about large swaths of Obama’s presidency.

    While all presidents have policies whose implementation & results aren’t exactly the same as “What was advertised on the box”….

    …Obama’s great accomplishment has been selling *nothing but the box* to the press, who gleefully cheer-lead the idea of his advertised policies, completely disinterested in the reality of how they’re applied, or whether they do anything at all.

    Everything from his “historic” (*a word so over-used in his presidency as to cue a laugh-track) Climate Change Deal with China…. to the “Iran Deal” (where the ink had not even dried before the Ayatollahs were Test Firing long-range nuclear-payload-carrying missiles)… to the annual pretend-accomplishments of Obamacare, which thankfully the media seems to have stopped trying to tout….

    … its all a triumph of *spin*, and a poverty of substance.

    1. What? Obama is superficial? NO WAY!

    2. +1 labcoat

    3. “Obama’s great accomplishment has been selling *nothing but the box* to the press,”

      Wait, he stopped the Oceans rising, by just his mere presence. How can you call that symbolic?

    4. Obama’s great accomplishment has been selling *nothing but the box* to the press, who gleefully cheer-lead the idea of his advertised policies

      Virtue signaling means never having to give a damn about reality.

  10. Obama doesn’t want a national gun registry after all? Well, I’ll be.

    Oh, wait, I guess I misread that.

    1. Oh, they’re keeping the No Fly list too.

  11. I think Eric should stop locking his doors. Assuming his house hasn’t ever been robbed, the fact that it hasn’t is proof that there is no need to lock his doors.

    It is the same logic here. The fact that we tracked and were careful about who we let in legally resulted in none of the people we tracked being terrorists is not proof that the program didn’t work or is not needed anymore than the fact that your house hasn’t been robbed is proof you don’t need to lock your doors.

    It could be that there are no terrorists out there wanting to get into the country and this program is a waste of time. It could also be that there are terrorists who would like to get in and this program deterred them from coming in legally and forced them to seek other means to get in the country.

    Isis would love to attack the US but is reduced to sending out pleas for people already here to join the Jihad and attack the country. Wouldn’t it be more effective to send actual terrorist into the country to do the job rather than sending out pleas hoping someone will take up the call? It is not like ISIS doesn’t have people who would do that.

    1. Oh look, DHS hack believes the country is equivalent to a person’s house. I am surprise.

      Shouldn’t you be busy writing torture memos?

    2. If you’ve left your house unlocked 93,000 times and nothing has happened, and yet you waste time worrying about burglars…

      1. True the track record of zero terrorist attacks ever in the US can’t be ignored.

        1. Keep flogging that strawman.

    3. Assuming his house hasn’t ever been robbed, the fact that it hasn’t is proof that there is no need to lock his doors.

      Locking your doors or not doing so is a personal decision that has no relevance to government policy. It’s your property, so it’s your choice. The government’s every move should be heavily scrutinized because it isn’t just a personal decision and whatever it does could affect the rights of countless people. The government really has no fundamental right to do anything it does. In addition to hard scientific evidence that the policy is effective, any policy that violates people’s liberties should still be rejected outright. Maybe that’s not the case here, but that’s how things should be done in general.

  12. Reason has on multiple occasions assured its readers that allowing Muslim and Middle Eastern refugees into the country is not a problem because the government can “vet them”. Okay, how does reason expect the government to do that without interrogating them and investigating who they are and keeping tabs on them once they get here? What does reason mean by “vet” other than the government adopting the position that since they are Muslim and say they mean well, they must not be a threat?

    1. What does reason mean by “vet”

      Check their teeth, test their reflexes, maybe do an X-Ray if their hind legs look iffy, give them shots and de-worm them. Neutering/spaying extra.

      You know – vetworks.

      1. You know, like the Germans vetted the Christmas market truck driver!

        http://www.steynonline.com/764…..-operation

      2. “I need you to eat this bacon and kiss this homosexual before you can cross this line.”

        1. I’ve half-seriously suggested process that goes something like “sign this cartoon of Mohammed, that goes into your file. Now sing Hatikvah, we’ll post that on YouTube under your name. Now, we just need you to recite this statement denouncing Arab anti-colonialism in Levant and Mesopotamia, and, once we photo you stepping on the Koran, you’re good to go!”

          1. It does have the benefit of making some obviously have to back the West because their more extreme contemporaries will just kill them for it, but I’m pretty sure that can be covered by taqiya and wouldn’t work at preventing actual attacks.

            1. Oh, wouldn’t work if everyone implemented it. One country does it, and they’ll go looking elsewhere. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to be discriminatory – you apply it to every immigrant.

              Also, while taqiya is a thing, so is honor, and it’s always a contest between the two. God bless the Collective Muslim, rational thinking is not its dominant trait.

              1. Collective Muslim

                Oh, i used to like that band.

              2. Well you don’t have to be discriminatory with restrictions on Muslim immigration either. Just go “ok, these countries with high levels of anti-American rhetoric and tolerated anti-American terrorist organizations? Vast restrictions on their immigration. Maybe a couple hundred a year.” Sure, you still might get a guy coming over who was born in France or a local acting up, but it will at least help kill the actual environment that allows for the radicals to be reinforced ideologically (the internet will always remain a problem however). If most Muslim in the West become Tarek Fatah we have nothing to worry about.

                1. Good grief, man, next you’ll suggest an immigration system that assigns people some kind of numeric value based on diverse factors, and uses that numeric value to determine whether they can immigrate or not! Like some kind of Fourth Reich!

                  1. “Trump’s anti-immigration comments go too far, I’m moving to Canada…wait, how come my gender studies degree is worth less than 20 points?!?”

                  2. I figured that would be New Zealand website, but close enough.

          2. No need to be sadistic. Be a nice guy: offer a free BLT (with or without artisanal mayonnaise) and a beer during the visa interview. Only a person of dubious character would refuse.

            1. Like a vegan and a teatotaller? By Jove, you got something!

              1. Don’t need any of those either.

        2. I have no problem as long as the lesbian is attractive.

    2. It will be done based on Western Civilization’s Honor System.

  13. Either way, getting rid of the NSEERS program is worthy of applause, even if I’d prefer to have a president who cares about protecting civil liberties without needing the motivation of protecting his own political legacy

    But teh Moooslumz are all murderous savages who will rape your children and behead you. Everybody knows that.

  14. Because it was in the hands of the right people until now, correct?

    1. My leftie friends have spent the last few weeks waking up to the dangers of the NSA. I wonder why.

  15. “While it was operational, some 93,000 immigrants were put through the NSEERS program without a single one being convicted on any terrorism charges.”

    What about the deterrent effects?

    There are a couple dozen counties on the State Department’s travel warning list because of anti-American terrorism.

    “We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all.”

    http://tinyurl.com/jcshc4p

    If no Americans are murdered in Yemen by terrorists this year, does that mean putting Yemen on the warning list was ineffective or does that mean it was effective?

    There is at least some deterrent effect to account for, right?

    If no Al Qaeda operatives have been discovered through the NSEERS program, to what extent does the program help keep Al Qaeda operatives away and underground?

    1. You got logic on their narrative!

      So rude!

  16. Next Obama will get his time machine and prevent himself from ordering the drone strikes on al-Awlakis and the like, just because Trump obviously can’t be trusted with that power.

    1. No, that’s even easier. Obama killed whomever needed killin’ already, so drone program can be discontinued left to the Army and the CIA with no presidential input.

      1. “Let the CIA run something with no oversight” is pretty high on the list of bad plans, right next to ‘make an extremely unfair peace treaty with the Germans’ and ‘put Saudi Arabia on UN human rights commissions’.

        1. “Invade Russia in late summer”

            1. “Arguably better than “invade Russia while snow is still present” plan.”

              No, you start the invasion when there is snow on the ground. That way you arrive at Moscow during beautiful summer weather. Duh!

  17. Again, too little, too late.

  18. I understand that the Obama Administration does a great job of screening refugees–because everyone in the media says so. However, according to Minnesota Public Radio, nine men from the Somali refugee community in Minneapolis have either plead guilty or been tried this year for trying to join ISIS.

    http://www.mprnews.org/story/2…..nesota-faq

    Does that mean screening refugees is ineffective?

    I don’t think so. If my burglar alarm didn’t catch a single burglar, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ineffective.

    If my house burns down despite the smoke alarm, that doesn’t mean my smoke alarm was ineffective either. It means I need to do more to prevent fires from breaking out than just having a smoke alarm.

    1. So, don’t… uh, don’t store Muslim immigrants next to oily rags?

      1. They do have a tendency to explode.

    2. If my house burns down despite the smoke alarm, that doesn’t mean my smoke alarm was ineffective either. It means I need to do more to prevent fires from breaking out than just having a smoke alarm.

      Unfortunately that analogy isn’t universally applicable:

      If mass shootings happen despite mandatory background checks, that doesn’t mean mandatory background checks were ineffective either. It means we need to do more to prevent mass shootings than just having mandatory background checks.

      If the entire approach is misguided, then doubling down on the approach will not help.

      When terrorist attacks are carried by a literal of handful of people, and even we’ll need to pick those people out of 10’s of thousands (and that’s your very best case scenario), and your false positive, and false negative rates are going to be pretty damn high, it’s not a given that the entire approach just needs to be dialed to 11.

      1. I’m a proponent of doing the cheap obvious stuff to harden targets (cockpit doors that lock, pilots that can carry guns, passengers that tackle hijackers) because it works against all terrorists regardless of method of entry into the country, and denies them the force-multipliers they need to do real long-term damage. It seems like the most cost-effective way of dealing with the problem, and it’s not clear that anything can be done about the “ram people with a car and/or stab them” level of attacks we’re now seeing beyond having a well-armed citizenry.

        I don’t like but can accept as a cheap solution (if somewhat of an overreaction) curtailing immigration from high-risk countries (near) entirely, on the basis that those are the most likely sources of would-be terrorists. Sucks for innocents stuck over there, but better than blocking immigration from everywhere.

        But the overall incompetence with which the no-fly list is managed tells me trying to let people in but screen them costs more, is nearly as effective as no screening at all, and selectively violates the rights of the more law-abiding immigrants/visitors. Don’t think it provides a good trade-off.

        1. Give this man the cupie doll.

  19. He didn’t end drone strikes. Well I guess this is something.

  20. Trump would be wise to not talk too much or at least restrict his speeches to ‘ vague and soaring, feel-good rhetoric’ to prime the people. If he goes into any details, Obama is just going to nix whatever he can to make it harder for Trump.

    Obama is out to protect ONE thing and ONE thing only in the 30 days or so: His legacy.

    Once Jan. 21 comes around, Trump can then take a hammer to it if he chooses.

  21. without a single one being convicted on any terrorism charges

    Emphasis added on weasel-words.

    We don’t need a new (or old) government program for this problem. We just need to end Muslim immigration.

  22. Shorter Reason: those bitches in Cologne were asking for it.

  23. So… he’s pullin’ an Eisenhower.

    1. He’s also squirreled away some of his favorite nuts (Catherine Lhamon, for example). Bureaucracies designed so that nobody can ever fire the crazies. Wonderful, huh?

  24. So, he kills the least intrusive of his and Bush’s civil right violating programs? One that was sitting unused for years? On the slim chance that what? That Trump would have (OF COURSE!) reactivated it? That Trump can’t simply sign a piece of paper and reinstate the program wholesale anyway – we do have the personnel list and SOP manuals still.

    Are we supposed to rejoice that the police state has been rolled back a nanometer or two?

    Well . . . thanks Obama?

    1. He’s “discontinuing” it so that it makes news if/when Trump re-activates it. Gives the Dems something to bitch about on TV. Same thing with the drilling in the Atlantic ban.

  25. It doesn’t feel like Reason has any self awareness. Islamic terrorists keep shooting, knifing, running over, and blowing up Westerners in western countries and we’re just suppose to shake it off I guess. Comparing extra scrutiny of Muslims to internment of Japanese is a complete non-sequitur. Japanese Americans were not killing Americans indiscriminately prior to being virtually imprisoned. Nor were they preaching any Asian form of Jihad against Westerners.

    I don’t know if such a “list” is the most effective way to combat terrorism, but it’s clear that the Jihad won’t end just because you all pretend like everyone is overreacting.

    1. I need a registry to keep track of all my little anarcho-frankentrumpkensteins. They are getting rowdier than my own socks!

    2. There have been few senior federal law enforcement officials who were as paranoid and unlibertarian as J. Edgar Hoover. Even the FBI director said the internment was a “totally unwarranted” response to the “[h]ysteria and lack of judgment” on the part of the Western Defense Command.

      “The necessity for mass evacuation is based primarily upon public and political pressure rather than on factual data.”

    3. There are plenty of commenters here who take the Islamic threat seriously but that oppose gov’t lists.

      Think about it this way: which is more likely, getting shot by a jihadist or getting shot by a US law enforcement officer (who may be sent to your home for a no-knock raid because you are on some gov’t list)?

      The stats are out there for all to see: the far greater threat to your life is the US law enforcement officer. It’s still low compared to other threats (car accidents, heart disease, preventable medical errors, etc.), but relatively speaking, we literally have more to fear of lethal injury from our gov’t than from jihadists.

      1. It is tempting to respond to my argument by saying, “Well, the chances of my being on a Muslim registry/list are slim to none, so the cops won’t come do a no-knock raid on my house.”

        To that, I say, “google Niemoller.”

        Any law-abiding gun owner in the USA is highly likely to be on a huge list that would be referred to when encountering US law enforcement. We already see some on the left outright calling gun owners (and the NRA) terrorists. How long before they try to turn hyperbole into law?

        But this is fundamentally an ethical problem going back to “innocent until proven guilty” and the concept of “pre-crime” as popularized by the movie Minority Report. An actual Muslim terrorist on a gov’t list of terrorists can be ethically accused and punishes of crimes he already committed but not of crimes he has not (yet) committed (and might never will).

  26. Yeah…it would have been a much more successful program if dozens of terrorists had filtered through, committed heinous acts, were apprehended, and then tried and convicted.

    “We got ’em!”

  27. I’ll do it! (As long as I can be the first to sign up.)

  28. “We must abolish this list before it falls into the hands of a President who doesn’t respect civil liberties, who fails to observe accountability in his actions, and has overbroad conceptions of Presidential power!”

    “So, Mr. President, how far do you want to back-date that repeal order?”

  29. RE: Obama Officially Kills Bush-Era Muslim Registry Program Before Trump Can Resurrect It
    Some 93,000 immigrants were put through the NSEERS program without a single one being convicted on any terrorism charges.

    Shame on Dear Leader.
    Doesn’t he know The State needs to know where everyone, including immigrants, are at all time?
    What does he think this is, a free country?

    1. You seem not to grasp the “country” part of a free country. It’s not just a zip code.

  30. does anyone believe that any government agency that is supposed to keep track of people would even admit if it did let terrorist through.

  31. Progs worried about Muslim registries should think about what we used last time we wanted to find which people to fuck with on an identity basis: the census.

    Of course they love the census, so they’re not going to do anything about it, or pretend there’s any risk whatsoever.

  32. Perhaps this is what was needed to get President Trump to put a moratorium on ALL visas until Congress can legislate a satisfactory substitute – after all, there is no Constitutional Right of foreigners to visit the United States.

  33. While it was operational, some 93,000 immigrants were put through the NSEERS program without a single one being convicted on any terrorism charges.

    Isn’t no terrorism a good thing?

    1. Cool, put all gun purchasers through this as well. Look how successful this program was.

      Isn’t no (domestic) terrorism a good thing?

  34. Islam peace states to takeover all earth and kill enslave steal, genital mutilation and abuse to women and hildren, puberty boy head cuttings and pedophilia, child brides pedophilia, rape burning stoning body part cuttings abuse beatings discrimination and absolute no tolerance for any religion art literature etc of any religion or against islam. Brainwashing, isolated and controlled dictated every aspect of their lives. Converts not allowed they are to be killed. Nonsupport if jihad is a hypocrit. quote Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Qur’an 2:191 Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” Qur’an 8:12

    1. That sounds a LOT like the Methodist White Terror that had the Democrats and God’s Own Prohibitionists cowed in These States during the Noble Experiment of Christian Teetotalitarianism.

  35. Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.” Qur’an 3:85 The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them.” Qur’an 9:30 Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam” Qur’an 5:33 Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies.” Qur’an 22:19 Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them.” Qur’an 47:4 The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.” Qur’an 8:65 Muslims must not take the infidels as friends.” Qur’an 3:28 Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.” Qur’an 8:60

    1. How sure are we that George Waffen Bush didn’t write this stuff as psy-ops for building up the faith-based Military-Industrial Complex?

  36. Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah. Qur’an:8:39 So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world). Qur’an:8:39 Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, lay them low, and cover them with shame. He will help you over them. Qur’an:9:14 Fight the unbelievers around you, and let them find harshness in you. Qur’an:9:123 O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding. Qur’an:8:65
    The revelation of the scripture is from Allah, The Mighty, The Wise. Qur’an:45:2 Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Qur’an 2:191 Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood.” Qur’an 9:123 When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them.” Qur’an 9:5 Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.” Qur’an 3:85 The infidels are unclean; do not let them into a mosque.” Qur’an 9:28 Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” Qur’an 8:12 Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.” Qur’an 8:60

  37. Now we just need to get rid of any gun or gun owner registries…

  38. So… is NSEERS now added to the list of n-words? What about nerf-herders and sand people?

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  40. As Reason’s Shikha Dalmia wrote last year: “Expecting terrorists to voluntarily stroll to an immigration office to be fingerprinted and IDed is absurd, of course. So the entirely predictable upshot of the program was that although it managed to obtain not a single terrorism-related conviction, it did ruin plenty of lives of peaceful Muslims caught in its dragnet.”

    Really? ruined plenty of lives? What caused the lives to be ruined? Was it the ink from the fingerprinting? The half hour interview? Please explain Shikha. (My explanation is you’re a NUT!)

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