The Obama administration formally announced the death of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a program Obama put on permanent hiatus soon after he took office. NSEERS was developed to track people who come into the country with a legal visa but don’t leave when they’re required to. It’s a program designed to make Americans safer.
But that is not how it’s being reported in the mainstream media or talked about by fact-challenged politicians such as the NY State AG Eric Schneiderman, and NYC Mayor de Blasio. They claim that NSEERS is a Muslim-tracking program designed to create a Muslim registry and lead to the arrest of Muslims.
In 2015 480,000 foreign nationals came into this country and over-stayed their visa according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), “adding to a backlog that’s reached some 5 million total, members of Congress said.” NSEERS was created to track those 480K foreigners no matter what their religion or country of origin.
That is not how the program is being described this week. For example CNN declared,
President Barack Obama’s administration said Thursday it was ending a dormant program that once was used to track mostly Arab and Muslim men.
In a letter addressed to the President, Schneiderman wrote that NSEERS, created after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, did not reduce terrorist activity, but instead “undermined trust” in law enforcement and instilled fear in some communities.
“We can’t risk giving President-elect Trump the tools to create an unconstitutional religious registry,” Schneiderman said in a separate statement.
Here is the truth about the NSEERS program, why and when it was developed, and how it was to be used.
A number of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers were visa over-stays, prompting the 9/11 Commission to call for the government to complete a tracking system so all visitors to the U.S. are tracked on entry and exit. The entry system works, but the government never got the chance to fully complete the exit part of the system.
The man who drove the van containing explosives into the World Trade Center garage in 1993 was a student visa holder who was a no-show at school. The terrorist who flew a plane into the Pentagon also was a visa no-show. People who over-stay their visa, or come into the country on a student visa but don’t show up at school, ARE a grave threat to the United States. All people who over-stay, not just the Muslim ones.
The fact this visa issue has not been fixed is astounding, and the fact that the program designed to fix it was never completed and is now canceled demonstrates that the liberals in government and those in the MSM don’t care about the safety of American citizens.
NSEERS went into development in 2002 and was in the testing stage in 2009 when Obama became POTUS.
In 2013 Michelle Malkin explained:
The concept of a national security entry-exit screening database is at least 10 years old. It’s an idea that was sabotaged by the progressive soft-on-security ideologues with whom Rubio has recklessly partnered [she’s talking about the Gang-of-Eight bill].
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration created NSEERS, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. Administered and championed by Justice Department constitutional lawyer, immigration enforcement expert and now-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, NSEERS stopped at least 330 known foreign criminals and three known terrorists who had attempted to come into the country at certain official ports of entry.
NSEERS required higher scrutiny and common-sense registration requirements for individuals from jihad-friendly countries including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as other at-risk countries [because those areas have the most overstayers. Religion is not a qualifier] . The basic components included a more rigorous application process in light of the shoddy visa questionnaires and undetected over-stays of the 9/11 hijackers; 30 extra minutes of interviewing at ports of entry; a digital fingerprint check and in-person registration after they arrived in the interior of the country; and verification of departure once they exited.
NSEERS is a great example of the concept President-Election Trump called “extreme vetting.”
When Obama took over, he indefinitely suspended the NSEERS pilot program because this President believes in open borders—and congress didn’t have the guts to object. Michelle Malkin explained that six times over the past 18 years a computer system to track foreigners who come in and out of the country has been mandated by congress. However, along with the double-layered fence on our southern border, it sits in the trashcan of border security legislation that was never executed by the executive branch.
Overstays have traditionally drawn less scrutiny than border jumpers when it comes to illegal immigration. For one, they entered legally, which means they went through at least some inspection, and they are more likely to go home of their own accord.
While border-crossers draw heavily from Latin America, visa overstays come from across the globe — including from so-called “special interest” countries with ties to terrorism.
After years of delay, Homeland Security officials in January released a report detailing part of the problem. Of the nearly 50 million business and tourist visas issued, about 1 percent — or 500,000 — remained even after their permission expired in 2015.
This is idiotic. Why are we wasting time whining about taking away people’s second and fourth amendment rights by using a flawed terrorist watch to take away people’s firearms? Why aren’t we sealing our boarders? Preventing possible terrorists from coming into the country–not just via a wall, but by knowing exactly who is going in and out of this country.
In his earlier testimony, Craig Healy struggled to defend the administration’s meager efforts to track visa violators.
Immigration agents catch an abysmally small percentage of the illegal immigrants who arrived on visas but over-stay their welcome, authorities admitted to Congress Tuesday, describing a loophole that those around the globe are increasingly using to gain a foothold in the U.S.
“We utilize our prioritization scheme along with the resources that we have…”
He blamed a shortage of funding and a tricky environment, where authorities only have limited information, and it takes them months to decide if someone really did overstay their visa and if they are deemed serious enough offenders to make an effort to go after.
Members of Congress were stunned, saying more needs to be done to go after overstays.
Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, said the Obama administration has increasingly lost sight of the problem, deporting some 12,500 overstays in 2009, but just 6,800 in 2012 and only 2,500 last year — or less than one out of every 2,000.
By deporting such a small percentage of the visa overstayers, the message they are sending wide and far is just get into the country, if you’re not convicted of a serious crime, [and] you’re going to be allowed to stay. You’re gonna pass go; you’re gonna get the money,” Mr. Smith said. “That is the wrong message to send because it increases more illegal immigration.”
The fact this visa issue has not been fixed is incredibly frightening. Where is Congress why aren’t they fixing this problem (and the rest of the border security issues) now!
Compounding the over stay problem is that the overstayer issue has received much lower scrutiny compared to border jumpers when it comes to illegal immigration. Part of the problem is that they entered the country legally, which means they went through at least some inspection, and they are more likely to go home of their own accord.
The liberals generally claim that U.S. efforts to combat illegal border-crossers are racist because they draw heavily from Latin America. Now they are claiming that fighting visa overstays is Islamophobic because it stops illegals from all across the globe, but includes overstayers from countries with ties to terrorism (because that’s where many of the visa overstayers come from).
When Obama put NSEERS on hiatus it was idiotic. The cancellation and the “fake news” spewed by the media and progressive politicians is even worse. The NSEERS critics are the same people who want to take away the 2nd Amendment rights of people on a flawed terrorist watch list without giving them their 4th Amendment due process--and those are Americans. But they have no interest in border security, which will protect all Americans, from people outside of the country.
What’s wrong with knowing exactly who is entering the country and whether they are leaving when they promised to leave??? Why is this a problem with liberals???
IMHO protecting the borders of this country should be number one domestic issue above everything else. Minimum wage, jobs, energy…none of it matters if some terrorist sets off a car bomb and your body parts are spewed all across the neighborhood, or if you are run down by a truck driven by terrorist.
The classic political theorists would tell you that the number one job of any government is to protect its citizens. Which means that any government official who works on any legislation before our borders, as well as air and sea entry points are verified as secure–before we know who is coming into the country and whether or not they have left, is abdicating their responsibility to the American voters.
Today this country has no idea who is coming in, out, or staying in the country, nor do we know what they are bringing in with them. The vast majority of those “missing” visa students or other visa overstayers are here with good intent, but it just takes one monster with nefarious intent to cause a major tragedy. By cancelling NSEERS, Barack Obama has made that major tragedy more likely.
Cross-posted at LidBlog.com.