It’s no secret that Donald Trump will enter the Oval Office riding a wave of prejudice and, at times, blatant hate. One of the most egregious of these giveaways was a promise he made on the campaign trail to establish a Muslim registry, or a database of all Muslim American citizens. The idea was received as ridiculous and people recognized its absurdity even at the time–but now, according to Kansas Secretary of State and member of the Trump transition team Kris Kobach, the proposal is still fair game—just with some modified rules.
In an interview with Reuters, Kobach explained that rather than a straight-forward American citizen database, President-Elect Trump’s modified plan is to keep a registry of immigrants who are coming from Muslim-majority countries instead. Despite being a registry, Kobach insists that it won’t actually be called so.
NSEERS has already survived several court challenges–and although the Obama Administration put it on the back-burner, it is not completely dead yet and risks revival.
The most frightening part of all of Kobach’s plans? This idea isn’t even new—it was in full effect through almost the entire Bush Jr. administration and through the first term of the Obama administration from 2002 until 2011. Even more concerning? Kobach was actually one of the staffers in the Justice Department at the time who put together the original “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System” (NSEERS). The original NSEERS was a visa accountability system that was supposedly for all “foreign citizens and nationals” from a list of 25 countries, one of which was North Korea and the other 24 of which were Muslim-majority and therefore considered “havens for terrorists.”
NSEERS has already survived several court challenges–and although the Obama Administration put it on the back-burner, it is not completely dead yet and risks revival. It just won’t target those 25 specific countries.
So how can you best prepare for your spot on the Muslim-Registry-That’s-Not-A-Registry-But-Is-A-Registry?
If you are a Muslim, be prepared. You’re going to have to go to into immigration offices for fingerprinting, so try to stop biting your nails. If you’re gonna be put in the system, you want to make sure everything, right down to your hands, looks on fleek.
Of course, you’ll also need to have a photo, so brothers, time to trim up that wild prairie you call a beard. Hijabi sisters, here’s the perfect excuse to try out that new hijab style you learned from the video you saw the other day. Pick your outfits carefully–only a portion of your chest and upwards will likely be visible, so it won’t hurt to accessorize from the neck up. That said, don’t worry if you multiple outfits you can’t decide between–once you’ve secured your place on the registry, you’ll have to check in with immigration officials periodically for interviews at specified intervals, so you will have multiple opportunities to show them that the only thing bomb about you is your sense of style and your witty charm.
Remember, if you are silent, your are complicit in the systematic strangulation of our identities.
If you’re a white non-Muslim, on the other hand, preparing for NSEERS 2.0 is much easier. Step 1 of 1: Show TF up for your Muslim brothers and sisters and continuously and very publicly protest this ludicrous idea and condemn it and similar acts for the perpetuations of racism as they are. Remember, if you are silent, your are complicit in the systematic strangulation of our identities.