DHS Announces Indefinite Suspension Of Controversial And Ineffective Immigrant Registration And Tracking System

Program’s End Is Welcome And Long Overdue But Work Remains For DHS To Repair Damage, Says ACLU FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security today, in a long-overdue announcement, said it will indefinitely suspend the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). Instituted in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, NSEERS was a domestic immigration enforcement program targeting men and boys from predominantly Arab- and Muslim-majority nations for extraordinary registration requirements with DHS. The program was repeatedly condemned by the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as resulting in widespread profiling of tens of thousands of immigrants from Arab- and Muslim-majority countries. Although conceived as a program to prevent terrorist attacks, NSEERS proved woefully ineffective as a counterterrorism tool. Among the tens of thousands of men and boys forced to register under NSEERS, none were ever convicted by the U.S. government for a terrorism-related crime. In practice, NSEERS led to the deportations of thousands of people from Arab- and Muslim-majority countries for civil immigration violations, and brought an abrupt end to their productive jobs, property ownership and community ties, including to U.S. citizen family members. It also caused unlawful profiling, arrest and detention of individuals who were not even required to register under the program. The American Civil Liberties Union represented one such individual, an Iraqi refugee who was pulled off an Amtrak train by border patrol agents while en route to Washington, D.C. from Seattle. He was arrested, handcuffed and imprisoned in a Montana jail for nearly a week for failure to register under NSEERS even though as a lawfully admitted refugee he was not required to do so. The government ultimately acknowledged its error and agreed to pay him damages. The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office: “While the ACLU welcomes this long-awaited announcement by DHS to suspend NSEERS indefinitely, there remains much damage to rectify from NSEERS’ discriminatory immigration enforcement. During the past nine years, NSEERS inflicted enormous costs on those people subject to special registration and eroded our government’s commitment to the principle of equal protection in law enforcement. The federal government must now work to remedy these injustices and take every available step to reverse the adverse immigration consequences that resulted from individuals being subjected to special registration under NSEERS.” The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel: “Though DHS has made great progress in indefinitely suspending NSEERS, today’s move simply delists the affected countries and leaves the door open for renewed registration in the future. DHS should completely scrap this program and draw the appropriate lesson from the failure of NSEERS for its larger immigration enforcement strategy. Dragnet immigration enforcement programs that ignore lawful individual grounds for suspicion in favor of enabling group-based profiling are counter-productive to the goals of promoting public safety and national security and contrary to American values.”

Twitter Follow

Follow us on

Contact Us

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT:  This communication or portions thereof may be considered "advertising" as defined by Section 6157(c) of the California Business and Professions Code or within the jurisdiction in which you are viewing this.  Nothing in the discussion above is intended to be a representation or guarantee about the outcome of any legal proceeding in which you may be involved.  By providing the information above in this format, Michel & Associates is not soliciting you to hire it to handle a specific legal matter you may currently have or be anticipating commencing in the future.  Notwithstanding the discussion above, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content on this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law.  This communication is informational only and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Michel & Associates.  Michel & Associates's attorneys are licensed to practice in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.