The first thing to know about Donald Trump’s alleged proposal for a Muslim registry is that it isn’t a Muslim registry.
This has been lost in a freak-out that has some brave souls already promising acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and overwhelm the prospective registry. The controversy tells us much more about how the media will cover the Trump administration — i.e., through the lens of a fact-free hysteria — than about the administration’s immigration-enforcement agenda.
The source of the fracas is a comment from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Trump immigration adviser and (excellent) candidate for Homeland Security director, to Reuters. Kobach noted that the administration might reinstate a Bush-era program tracking visitors to the U.S. from countries with active terrorist threats. This suggestion was spun into a first step toward herding our Muslim neighbors into internment camps.
Kobach was referring to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, which placed special requirements on adult male visitors from countries like Saudi Arabia. Implemented after September 11 — when, you might recall, adult male visitors from Saudi Arabia toppled the World Trade Center — it collected fingerprints and photographs when visitors from the select countries arrived and required them to check in periodically to confirm that they were abiding by the terms of their visas.
It also required that certain individuals from these countries who were already here go through a process of “special registration,” including an interview with immigration officials.
This is a far cry from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s notorious Executive Order 9066 setting in motion the Japanese internment of World War II.
It is true, as the critics point out, that the selected countries all were, with the exception of North Korea, majority Muslim. But any program concerned with international terrorism will, inevitably, focus largely on Muslim countries (although European countries like France and Belgium have developed an indigenous terror threat). The 9/11 hijackers, notably, all came from majority Muslim countries. It is said that the Bush program didn’t lead to the prosecution of any terrorists. According to the Migration Policy Institute, “The New York Times reported in 2003 that, out of roughly 85,000 individuals registered through the NSEERS program in 2002 and 2003, just 11 were found to have ties to terrorism.”
Although tracking down anyone here who has ties to terrorism isn’t necessarily something to sniff at, the Bush program proved best-suited to identifying visa overstayers. Of the 85,000 initial registrants, nearly 14,000 were put into removal proceedings. For the critics, this is an indictment. Liberal website Vox complains that the program “made it easier to deport someone who then overstayed his visa than it would have been to deport him if he’d refused to register at all.”
But why shouldn’t it be easier to deport visa-overstayers, who constitute about half of the population of illegal immigrants? If we are serious about our immigration rules, our approach to visa-overstayers from all countries should be much more restrictive and hardheaded.
Read it all at the virulently anti-Trump National Review of all places. And more via: NBC Blasted, Bias Reporting on Priebus’ Muslim Registry Rejection
NBC News was blasted Sunday for tweeting out a half-quote from President-elect Donald Trump’s chief of staff that made it seem the new administration was leaving the door open to a Muslim registry.
During an interview with Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, Trump’s newly named chief of staff, on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” moderator Chuck Todd asked if he could “rule out a registry for Muslims.”
Priebus replied: “Look, I’m not going to rule out anything. But, we are not going to have a registry based on religion.”
The network’s public relations department, however, posted only the first sentence in a pair of tweets to promote the segment.
“This quote is in fact opposite of what PR tweet indicates,” New York Times political correspondent Maggie Haberman noted in her own tweet of the exchange.
This quote is in fact opposite of what PR tweet indicates https://t.co/oCysHiiMgW
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 20, 2016
A senior technology writer for BuzzFeed, Charlie Warzel, lashed out at the tweet as an “irresponsible half-quote w/o even a link for context.”
The Washington Post reminds folks, possibly inadvertently, that the entire topic is a red herring to begin with:
Almost exactly one year ago, on Nov. 19, 2015, Trump was asked by a Yahoo News reporter what measures he might take when it came to his stated proposal to increase surveillance of Muslims in the United States.
For some odd reason the Washington Post does not include the actual question that Yahoo asked Trump or his actual response, so here it is:
Yahoo News asked Trump whether this level of tracking might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. He wouldn’t rule it out.
“We’re going to have to — we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said when presented with the idea. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”
But back to WAPO’s version of events:
“We’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago,” Trump said. Asked about registering Muslims in a database or noting their religion on IDs, Trump responded: “We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”
Asked the following day again whether he supported a Muslim database, Trump was again oblique: “There should be a lot of systems — beyond databases. I mean, we should have a lot of systems.” Trump then began talking about a border wall.
Asked by ABC News if he would rule out a database on all Muslims, he said no, but then shifted to talking about a database just of refugees.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I want a database for the refugees that — if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse.
And just for good measure, WAPO reports: The government already has a list of Muslims in the U.S.
That’s Barrack Obama’s government.
Let us also not forget that Obama kept a registry of sorts for Muslims who wanted jobs in his administration…while non-Muslims were excluded.
But, it’s more important to keep false premises and fake news flowing.
Update: Another Muslim database leveraged, and dramatically expanded, by Barrack Hussein Obama.
Oh the hypocrisy, via the very left-leaning Atlantic: How Obama’s Gun-Control Push Inverted the Politics of the No-Fly List
During his Oval Office speech Sunday night, President Obama said: “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.”
Over the late 2000s, pressure grew, and the no-fly list actually shrank significantly, to about 4,000. But after the failed Christmas Day “underwear bomber” attack in December 2009, the Obama administration reversed course and significantly ramped up the list. By 2013, according to documents obtained by The Intercept, there were 47,000 people on the no-fly list, topping the Bush administration’s high. Obama’s decision was driven in part by national-security hawks in his own party, including California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who called for a more aggressive list after the failed attack.
Update 2: The media continues the fake news cycle around the Yahoo-suggested Muslim database, but it is Yahoo and others that already maintain Muslim databases: We already have a Muslim registry. It’s called Facebook