Donald Trump's 'extreme' Muslim registry plans revealed by potential cabinet minister

Rights activists say the measures are already enough to spark protests

Adam Withnall
Tuesday 22 November 2016 11:13 GMT
Donald Trump calls for a Muslim registry in the United States

Details have emerged of what a plan for a Muslim registry under Donald Trump might look like, after they were revealed - apparently accidentally - by one of his potential cabinet members.

Kris Kobach is considered the front runner to head up the Department of Homeland Security when Mr Trump forms his administration in January next year.

So some say it is ironic that he was photographed as he arrived for a meeting with the President-elect with a supposedly confidential strategy document visible under his arm.

A cynic would call it a deliberate ploy to get attention for the "Kobach strategic plan for first 365 days", which is how the document is headed.

The proposals involve restarting a post-9/11 era security programme called Nseers (the National Security Entry-Exit registration system), which meant men from certain Muslim-majority countries were subject to additional checks and monitored during their time in the country.

Critics at the time said the programme was ineffective - doing nothing to make the country safer - while encouraging Islamophobia.

Mr Kobach's plan also appears to include adding "extreme vetting" to Nseers. The document describes questioning Muslims "regarding support for Sharia law, jihad, equality of men and women, the United States Constitution".

And it proposes "reducing intake of Syrian refugees to zero, using authority under the 1980 Refugee Act".

Harder to make out in the document, but still legible, was a definition of "criminal aliens" as "any alien arrested for any crime" - note, not convicted - "and any gang member". And further down it is just possible to make out the line "in addition to 386 miles of existing actual wall".

It is unclear how much of the document would ultimately be endorsed by a President Trump. But the language it uses - referring to immigrants as "potential terrorists" and "high-risk aliens" - is in keeping with his stump speeches during the campaign.

Speaking to the Daily Beast, Amnesty International's Naureen Shah said the slim proposals on the document would be enough on their own to cause her group to organise protests.

“We will create the public pressure and international community pressure to make these kinds of proposals untenable,” she said.

“When you see that as a package—NSEERS, the so-called extreme vetting, and the shutdown of the refugee program—that package deal, to govern based on bigotry and fear-mongering about the Muslim other, is an astounding way to start."

Katherine Tactaquin, the executive director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told the Daily Beast that Mr Kobach’s ideas meant going back to the post-9/11 norm.

“Obviously that’s going to target Muslims,” she said. “It’s another way of doing that without specifically saying, ‘We’re identifying Muslims.’”

And Anthony Hensley, Mr Kobach's political rival as the Kansas Senate Minority Leader, was critical of the Secretary of State.

He told the LA Times: “That’s the height of irony if he’s wanting a job in Homeland Security and you’re able to see in a photograph what should be confidential information.”

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