WASHINGTON — An immigration adviser to President-elect Donald Trump and a possible candidate for a top government post wants to make some changes at the Homeland Security Department, including recreating a system that required certain immigrants, including men and boys from 25 mostly Muslim nations, to register with the federal government upon their arrival.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach met with Trump on Sunday and brought with him a detailed list of proposals for the agency tasked with enforcing immigration laws and securing the border. Kobach carried his “Department of Homeland Security Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days” into his meeting with Trump. It was visible in a photograph from The Associated Press.
The top suggestion was to “update and reintroduce” the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, for all foreigners from “high-risk” areas, a program he helped create while working for the Justice Department in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The effort, which ultimately included the registration of more than 80,000 foreigners, was widely derided by civil rights groups who said it profiled foreigners based on their race and religion.
The document, which is partially obscured by Kobach’s left arm and hand, does not specify which foreigners would be required to register as part of an NSEERS update.
Kobach did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Obama administration formally abandoned the system in April 2011, saying a newer data collection program would be sufficient to collect biometric information for all foreigners coming into the country.
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Kobach’s plan also proposes adding “extreme vetting questions for high-risk” foreigners coming into the U.S. Those would include questions about a would-be visitor’s “support for Sharia law, jihad, equality of men and women, the United States constitution.”
The Kansan’s list also included ending the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States. As a candidate, Trump proposed a temporary ban on all Muslims coming into the country.
Several other suggestions for DHS were obscured in the photo, taken as Kobach was greeted by Trump.
Immigration was a top issue for Trump in his campaign to win the White House. He has yet to provide specific details about his plans to carry out campaign promises on immigration but last week announced his intention to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions to lead the Justice Department.
Sessions, like Kobach, has helped Trump craft his stance on immigration and is also a hard liner on the issue.
Associated Press reporter John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, contributed to this report.