Last week, we joined hundreds of Muslims and allies, organized by our friends at MoveOn.org and DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving), a community organization in Queens, NY, to deliver over 300,000 petition signatures calling on President Obama to shut down the existing regulatory framework for any registry that targets Muslim communities.1
While we're grateful that since the election, we've seen thousands of allies pledge to register themselves as Muslims if a new registry were to be announced,2 we want to make one point clear: we all need to take every step possible to shut down a registry before it ever happens.
President Obama has the authority to finally shut down NSEERS, the Bush-era registry program, once and for all, before the Trump team takes over in just a few weeks.3 We know that the administration is considering this demand, but the terrible events this past Monday in Berlin, Ankara, and Zurich could be used as an excuse to derail our efforts.
Right now, it's critical that we keep up the pressure on President Obama to do the right thing.
Based on transition documents accidentally leaked by the Trump team, we know that they're planning to use the existing framework of NSEERS—a Bush-era program that automatically registered immigrants from 24 Muslim countries and led to the deportations of over 10,000 Muslims—as the basis for a new registry.4
After the violence on Monday in Berlin, Ankara, and Zurich, we've already heard politicians assigning collective blame to all Muslims and all immigrants.5 We can't allow the Obama administration to use it as political cover for inaction. With just a couple of weeks to go before Trump is inaugurated, President Obama needs to remove the regulatory framework for NSEERS immediately.
If the Trump team wants to try and build a new Muslim registry, let them start from scratch, so that our communities can have a fighting chance at stopping it.
1. "Muslims, Allies March To White House Demanding 'No Muslim Registry'," DCist, Dec 13, 2016
2. "Register US," Register US, Accessed Dec 20, 2016
3. "Obama urged to dismantle NSEERS visa tracking program," CNN, Nov 23, 2016
4. "Reinstating A Muslim Registry Is Literally At The Top Of Kris Kobach’s Agenda For Trump Administration," The Huffington Post, Nov 21, 2016
5. "Asylum-Seeker Arrested Over Truck Attack On Berlin Christmas Market," The Huffington Post, Dec 20, 2016