There seems to be disagreement amongst President-elect Trump’s transition team about what Donald Trump really wants. “The Donald” also known as the “Glorious Leader” on a neo-nazi website may have said many things during the Presidential election campaign simply to gain votes.
According to an immigration adviser on his transition team the President-elect, Donald Trump, plans to introduce a controversial ‘Muslim registry’, scheme, for which Trump will not seek congressional approval, and which will target immigrants from ‘mostly-Muslim’ countries. This has been compared by some to Nazi Germany’s requirement that jews register.
However, Jason Miller, the communications director for Trump’s transition team denies that Trump wants a muslim registry. He had the following to say.
“President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion, and to imply otherwise is completely false.
The national registry of foreign visitors from countries with high terrorism activity that was in place during the Bush and Obama administrations gave intelligence and law enforcement communities additional tools to keep our country safe, but the president-elect plans on releasing his own vetting policies after he is sworn in.”
Throughout his election campaign, Trump expressed concerns about Muslim immigration and has said at times that he would impose a full-scale ban on immigrants arriving in the US from countries where Islam is considered the ‘dominant’ religion, if elected president.
However, his stance has since softened following his shock election win on November 9, 2016. Having initially called for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims’ entering the US, Trump backtracked and instead urged for an ‘extreme vetting’ process, which would target immigrants from countries where known extremist groups are operational.
Kansas secretary of state and adviser to Trump, Kris Kobach, stated that Trump’s staff is working to make sure that the US Department of Homeland Security is prepared to ‘hit the ground running’ in order to deliver on the key issues tackled during the election campaign, including he says Muslim immigration.
National Security Entry-Exit Registration System
During an interview with Reuters, Mr Kobach revealed that Trump’s staff were giving serious consideration to resurrecting the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), an initiative that was briefly implemented following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The NSEERS program subjected immigrant arrivals from countries deemed ‘high risk’ to interrogations and fingerprinting upon entering the US. In addition a number of male, non-US citizens over 16 years of age were required to report to government offices at regular intervals.
NSEERS was scrapped in 2011 after coming under heavy criticism from civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim-majority nations. Equally, the Department of Homeland Security thought the program had outlived its usefulness.
Kobach said: “One of the most hardline Republican voices on US immigration helped design that programme whilst working in the department of justice under President George W Bush.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s office has so far offered no comment on Kobach’s role in the transition team. However, it’s widely reported that he had significant influence during Trump’s election campaign. Kobach himself said that he played a ‘significant part in a strategy that would see Mexico pay for controversial border wall plans.’
Mexican wall to keep out immigrants
Aside from tackling Muslim immigration, according to Kobach, the president-elect will definitely be going ahead with the construction of a wall on the US border with Mexico. Kobach said: “The president-elect’s immigration team are drafting executive orders that would allow the new White House to secure the rapid construction of a wall along the border with Mexico.”
If there is to be a wall built, Mexican officials are adamant that Mexico will not pay for Trump’s ridiculous wall. The Mexican government has setup a 24 hour helpline providing consular services for Mexican citizens residing in the US who are worried following Trump’s unexpected election victory.
Bill de Blasio, the Democratic Mayor of New York, warned the president-elect against adopting ‘hardline immigration policies.’ Blasio said a tough immigration stance would “sow mistrust between immigrant communities and law enforcement.”
Mr Blasio pointed out to Trump that the New York Police Department (NYPD) has more than 900 Muslim personnel on the payroll and also urged the president-elect not to endorse US immigration legislation that could lead to large-scale deportations and tear families apart.
Trump’s transition team in disarray
According to a number of sources, Kobach’s comments concerning a ‘Muslim registry’ come amid internal wrangling within Trump’s transition team. Just recently, the real estate tycoon replaced New Jersey governor and key ally, Chris Christie, with his vice president, Mike Pence as head of the transition team.
However, the president-elect immediately took to Twitter to refute a report published by the New York Times that claimed his transition team was in ‘chaos.’ Trump tweeted: “The failing New York Times story is so totally wrong on transition. It is going so smoothly. Also, I have spoken to many foreign leaders.”