By Jon Reid
December 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm ET
The Obama administration is dismantling a defunct special registration program, a move that could make it harder for President-elect Donald Trump to follow through on his call for a Muslim registry.
A final rule from the Department of Homeland Security that’s set to be published Friday in the Federal Register removes the regulatory framework for the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the program required males over the age of 15 from 25 countries — most of them Muslim-majority — to undergo a series of special registration requirements to visit the United States. The program was established in 1991 and suspended in 2011, but its framework has remained intact.
“The regulatory structure pertaining to NSEERS no longer provides a discernable public benefit as the program has been rendered obsolete,” the final rule states. “Accordingly, DHS is removing the special registration program regulations.”
The move could be viewed as a pre-emptive action to counter Trump, who could use the program to establish a Muslim registry. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told Reuters in an article published Nov. 15 that he and some of Trump’s advisers had discussed drafting a proposal to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
On Dec. 12, Trump said he intends to nomiate retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump vowed before the election to establish a Muslim registry and temporarily suspend immigrants from Muslim countries. On Wednesday, when asked where he stood on the registry and another proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country, Trump suggested he’s sticking with that approach.
“You know my plans,” he said in brief remarks to reporters, according to a pool report. “All along, I’ve been proven to be right — 100 percent correct.”