President-elect Donald Trump represents the American people’s bitter rejection of President Barack Obama’s policies — and Obama despises Trump so much for that, he’s willing to jeopardize American safety.
Just how far the president is willing to go to make a point is shocking.
The Obama administration announced Thursday it has officially destroyed the decades-old U.S. registration system for Muslim immigrants — and critics say the move has made America more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
If Trump wants to introduce an expanded version of the program, which was put into place after the Sep. 11 attacks and used for years by the last two presidents, his administration will be forced to start from scratch.
The post-9/11 registration program for immigrant men arriving mainly from the Islamic world was created under former President George W. Bush and later used by Obama… before he stopped American security forces from enforcing it in 2011.
The decision to erase the security data from the books completely marks one of Obama’s last administrative actions on immigration and will slow Trump’s efforts to introduce tougher border security requirements, as has been suggested by a top adviser.
The registration system started about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, requiring men and boys from a variety of mostly Middle Eastern countries to register with the federal government upon their arrival in the United States.
Registration, which also applied to immigrants from North Korea, included fingerprints and photographs. People also were required to notify the government if they changed addresses.
Trump has never publicly spoken about the program, but has made clear his desire to take a far tougher approach toward immigration than Obama.
He and his advisers have suggested the rising terror threat in the United States, Europe and elsewhere is linked to insufficiently vetted refugees and immigrants arriving from predominantly Muslim countries. After a truck attack killed 12 in a Christmas market in Berlin this week, Trump told reporters, “You know my plans.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Trump confidant on immigration, has been more explicit on his plans for the registry. Last month, he said he wanted to launch an updated system for all foreigners from “high-risk” areas.
Meeting Trump in New York, Kobach carried a document labeled “Department of Homeland Security Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days.” It described a reboot of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) as the top priority. Kobach helped draft the program while working at the Justice Department under Bush.
Obama got wind of the plan — and scrapped the whole thing.
If Trump opts to restart NSEERS and create a new program, he will have to start from scratch with a process that includes notifying the public about his plans. That could delay a new effort by months.
When the Obama administration stopped enforcing the system in April 2011, it said a newer data collection program would be sufficient to collect biometric information for all foreigners coming into the country. At the time, more than 80,000 foreigners were registered.
Now, it’s all gone — and Obama’s destruction of the program is a personal insult to American voter demands for international security.
The Associated Press contributed to this article