The End of NSEERS In The Obama Administration


On December 19, 2016, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman wrote an open letter to President Obama.  On Mr. Schneiderman’s letter, he asked the president to dismantle the National Registry put in place shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.  The registry, officially called as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), was the government’s way of monitoring visitors from countries prone to terrorist groups.  Though not explicitly stated,  the intended target of the registry were  Muslim males from countries known to have ties with terrorist groups regardless of whether or not they were suspected or accused of any criminal activity.

Fortunately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stopped using the registration process in 2011.  This was mainly attributed to the DHS finding other ways, that were less costly,  to keep tabs on the targeted group.   However, the legal framework of NSEERS is still in place, which would allow the incoming president to revive his plans of keeping tabs on Muslims if he cannot keep them out.

For Attorney General Schneiderman, the registry was an ineffective way of curbing terrorism.   In fact, the Attorney General strongly believed that NSEERS only instilled fear and mistrust between communities and the government that serves them.

On December 22, 2016, the Obama Administration agreed not only with Mr. Schneiderman but with everyone who saw NSEERS as a threat rather than the solution.   DHS submitted a rule change rescinding the NSEERS that would be published in the federal register and immediately took effect on Friday, December 23, 2016.