President Obama is making his last few weeks in office really count, working on preemptive strikes against the Trump administration, making it harder for them to implement some of their more dangerous/moronic/unconstitutional policy plans.
Earlier this week, Obama teamed up with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to stick it to the incoming administration on offshore drilling by permanently banning drilling in major parts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.
Now, Obama has targeted Trump’s proposed Muslim Registry, and has set the Trump Administration back significantly in creating such a thing.
For nine years, from 2002 to 2011, a version of one of Donald Trump’s most extreme proposals was standard US government policy: requiring certain people in the US on visas from Muslim-majority countries to register with the government.
President Barack Obama suspended the program in 2011 — after years of complaints by civil rights groups that the program targeted Muslims and wasn’t effective in preventing terrorism. But it had never been fully dismantled — it was still sitting around for the Trump administration to dust off.
On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security published a regulation that would totally get rid of the National Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) — forcing the Trump administration to take the time to create something new, and giving civil rights groups an opportunity to stop them.
The regulation goes into effect Friday, December 23, well before President Trump is inaugurated. So when his administration takes office — if it’s serious about finding a way to register people from Muslim-majority countries in the US — it’s going to have to find another way to do it.
But now that the Trump administration won’t have the ability to simply reanimate existing regulations, it will have to, rhetorically, go back to square one. It will have to propose a new set of regulations to register and track people from particular countries during their time in the US. And it will have to argue, as the Bush administration did, that it isn’t using Muslim-majority countries as a proxy to “invidiously discriminate” against Muslims — something it might struggle to persuasively do.
Nice work, President Obama. Please continue these strikes against Trump’s proposals. The harder you can make it for him to do anything, the better.