MAY 19, 2011
The Department of Homeland Security has quietly eliminated a post-9/11 counterterrorism program that required men from Muslim countries with active terrorist organizations to register with federal authorities upon entering the United States.Known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) the program was created to intercept Islamic terrorists like the ones who hijacked airplanes and murdered thousands of Americans in 2001. Most were men who entered the U.S. with legal visas and would have been required to register with immigration authorities under NSEERS.Active terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda operate in all of the countries listed on the now-defunct Homeland Security NSEERS list. They include Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.In a largely unnoticed federal register note announcing the end of NSEERS, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asserts that its “redundant” and “no longer provides any increase in security” because her agency has implemented “several new automated systems” that capture the same arrival and exit data of nonimmigrant travelers to the U.S.Madam Secretary further explains in the announcement that there’s been an evolution in terrorism that evidently makes NSEERS unnecessary. “As threats to the United States evolve, DHS seeks to identify specific individuals and actions that pose specific threats, rather than focusing on more general designations of groups of individuals, such as country of origin.”This certainly sounds like it could be yet another move by the Obama Administration to placate Muslims. After all, throughout the counterterrorism program’s six years an army of politically-connected Islamic rights groups decried it as unfairly promoting racial profiling.In the last year the administration has heeded to many of their calls by launching an aggressive Muslim outreach effort that includes national security meetings with extremist groups, ordering the nation’s space agency (NASA) to focus on Muslim diplomacy and a special order allowing the reentry of two radical Islamic academics whose terrorist ties long banned them from the U.S.The Justice Department also created a special Arab-American and Muslim Engagement Advisory Group to foster greater communication, collaboration and new level of respect between law enforcement and Muslim and Arab-American communities. The fruits of its laborwere evident during a weekend raid on a Florida mosque with terrorist ties. Federal agents conducted it under new rules of engagement to assure cultural sensitivity towards Islam.
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