Muslims to march on White House to end discriminatory registry

Press TV- Thousands of Muslims and activists in the United States will march on the White House in a final effort to convince outgoing President Barack Obama to permanently dismantle a discriminatory program that singled out Muslims and Arabs for surveillance, before Donald Trump enters office.

Several of the largest progressive and civil rights groups will be participating in Monday’s march. Organizers hope that the march will be the final nudge that persuades Obama to revoke the regulatory framework of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).

Obama has less than six weeks to rescind NSEERS, an openly discriminatory registry program that was introduced in the wake of September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

NSEERS was indefinitely suspended in 2011, but Trump mulled the possibility of reinstating the program during his presidential campaign in order to monitor the activities of Muslim immigrants.

The program was suspended by removing the names of the 25 countries targeted for port-of-entry registration, but the regulatory framework was left standing.

Civil rights groups fear that should the program still be in place when Trump enters the White House on January 20, he could resume it very quickly, making his threat to impose a database of Muslims a reality, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Talks have been proceeding at the highest levels of the Obama administration and scrapping NSEERS is actively being considered as one of the most concrete steps that the outgoing president could take to protect vulnerable groups and individuals from the threatened actions of the incoming president, the British daily claimed.

The White House rally comes on the back of a joint letter from 51 members of Congress appealing to Obama to rescind the scheme.

Trump made a threat to ban all Muslims entering the US a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. NSEERS would allow the new president to carry out that threat of “extreme vetting” within days of forming his new administration.

John Ashcroft, the then US attorney general who introduced NSEERS under the George W. Bush administration, called it a “vital line of defense in the war against terrorism,” but it proved entirely ineffective.

Many experts and civil rights advocates criticized the program for profiling on the basis of ethnicity and religion as well as generally undermining immigrants’ rights.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the program was ineffective due to it producing no terrorism-related convictions in the 93,000 cases it created.

More than 80,000 people, almost all of them Muslim or Arab, were forced to sign up to the scheme in a way that spread fear and resentment through Muslim American communities across the US.