The Obama administration rushed Thursday to cancel a program set up to track Muslim and Arab men in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, hoping to hamstring President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to impose “extreme vetting” on Muslim visitors.
Known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), the program went dormant in 2011, but civil rights groups had feared Mr. Trump could kick-start it as the backbone of his new vetting plans.
Homeland Security said the program is being ended immediately.
“DHS ceased use of NSEERS more than five years ago, after it was determined the program was redundant, inefficient and provided no increase in security,” the department said in a statement. “The intervening years have shown that NSEERS is not only obsolete, but that its use would divert limited personnel and resources from more effective measures.”
When the program was operational, it required border officers to manually collect information from visitors. Homeland Security says it’s got automated systems now that collect better information, making the program outdated as well as inefficient.
Civil rights groups said the program didn’t lead to a single terrorism conviction during its decade in operation, and said revoking the framework of the system will help protect Muslim and Arab immigrants in the future.