Update: Nov. 17, 10:20pm ET: A Trump official has told CNN’s Jim Acosta that Kobach is not an adviser to the transition team.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign traded heavily on a proposal to ban Muslims traveling to the US. The president-elect is now considering a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries, according to a rumored contender for attorney general.
Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, reportedly a part of Trump’s transition team, told Reuters in an interview that he and other immigration policy advisers to Trump were considering drafting a proposal that would address Trump’s campaign promise of “extreme vetting” of Muslims entering the US. Trump’s transition team has not confirmed whether Kobach is actually part of the team or being considered for attorney general, nor has it commented on Kobach’s policy proposals.
Kobach, known for his hardline stance on immigration, said Trump’s immigration policy group is considering a recommendation to reinstate the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, a program he helped design and implement in President George W. Bush’s justice department shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Before it was discarded in 2011, NSEERS required people from 25 “higher risk” countries—all Muslim-majority, with the exception of North Korea—to register their arrival, departure, and length of stay with the US government. Members of the registry typically had to undergo additional interrogations and fingerprinting. Men over the age of 16 were subject to additional scrutiny that required regular check-ins with the government.
The program faced criticism from civil rights groups and was eventually deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security. Some 93,000 people were registered during the time the NSEERS program was active, ThinkProgress reports, while 13,740 of those immigrants underwent deportation proceedings. No one registered in the program was ever prosecuted on terrorism charges.
The Bush-era program “is one of the most shameful chapters of American history,” Chris Rickerd, policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Daily Dot in December 2015, shortly after Trump first suggested Muslims should carry special ID cards in the US.
Kobach also told Reuters that the Trump administration had discussed expeditious plans to construct a wall between the US and Mexico border without congressional approval. Trump was to review draft executive orders that would allow him and the Department of Homeland Security to “hit the ground running,” according to Kobach.