Donald Trump’s presidential campaign lost and gained voters over the divisive topic of immigration law reform. In late 2015, when the now-President-elect was first starting to catch major attention, the proposed idea was a blanket ban on all Muslims attempting to enter the country from many Middle-East nations. By the time Trump won the 2016 Presidential election, the plan had been curtailed and there was talks to simply increase the restrictions on any immigrant from particular countries, regardless of religious belief.
For many people, no matter how immigration reform is spelled out, it came as a surprise. But for some critics of the plan, it is uncannily similar to another immigration and security program from days past: the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program that became largely defunct in 2011.
What is the NSEERS Program?
After the 9/11 terrorists attacks, legislators from both parties sought immediate immigration law change. The NSEERS program was adopted to put more steps between an immigrant and entry into the country, if that immigrant was coming from a nation that was known to have terrorist inhabitants or headquarters. People that were affected by the NSEERS program would need to complete longer interviews, supply their fingerprints, and sometimes even need to comply with monthly “checkups”.
It is unknowable how effective NSEERS was at keeping potentially dangerous individuals out of the country, but civil rights activists stood against it from the beginning. Some critics, such as those from the ACLU, felt it was counterintuitive, stating that it made it harder for intelligence agencies to communicate with “terror prone” nations. The New America Foundation completed studies that showed most domestic terror attacks actually come from citizens, born on American soil or naturalized; if true, it would suggest the NSEERS program failed to target the right people the majority of the time. Furthermore, a report from the Department of Homeland Security in 2012 actually called NSEERS “unreliable.”
Will Trump’s Plan Mirror NSEERS?
It is difficult to ascertain exactly what is going to happen to immigration law following Trump’s inauguration. Initial claims included ended all illegal immigration within the first week of his presidency, which is not possible. A source within the administration has claimed the number of country’s that could be targeted by stricter regulations is a “moving target.” This is not uncommon, however, as incoming administrations often struggle to forecast exactly what they will do, or even intend to do, once in the White House.
In the meantime, immigration lawyers and people looking to enter the country will need to pay close attention to immigration laws and proposed changes. If you need help with an immigration case of your own, Verma Law Firm and our San Jose immigration law attorneys can be your legal guides and representatives. Get a free consultation today to learn more about your options.