NSEERS or “Muslim” Registration Was a Failed Post 9–11 Program and Must Come to an End

15 years late, we are still here. NSEERS was designed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and in the name of national security targeted people for additional scrutiny by the immigration agency. The most controversial piece of the program was the choice by then INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) to target certain male visitors from 25 largely Arab, Muslim and South Asian countries for interviews and questions at local immigration offices. The Department of Homeland Security inherited the NSEERS program. The legal, moral and practical implications of NSEERS were striking and well documented. Notice was provided through a publication in the voluminous government document called Federal Register (who reads the Federal Register with their oatmeal in the morning?) Local offices were unable to manage and detentions of those who came forward to register were frequent. Noncompliance with NSEERS carried criminal and civil penalties and years later penalized individuals later applied for a green card or other relief. More than 13,000 young men were placed in deportation (removal) proceedings. While the NSEERS program discontinued in 2011, the regulatory framework creating NSEERS remains in place.

Today, nearly 200 organizations call on WH to rescind NSEERS regulation: Please read and share this letter:


For additional resources on the law, cases and history of NSEERS (including those impacted, see below):

  1. American Constitution Society: Musings on Dreamers, Mass Deportations and a “Muslim Registry” http://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/musings-on-dreamers-mass-deportations-and-a-%E2%80%9Cmuslim-registry%E2%80%9D
  2. Trump’s Muslim ban reeks of failed post-9/11 anti-Muslim policies http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2015/12/trumps_muslim_ban_reeks_of_fai.html
  3. Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee: NSEERS: The Consequences of America’s Efforts to Secure Its Borders: This report contains the legal framework for NSEERS, many of the cases brought challenging the program and a few residual effects of the program
  4. Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights and Rights Working Group: The NSEERS Effect: A Decade of Racial Profiling, Fear, and Secrecy: This report summarizes the residual effects of NSEERS even one decade after the program began. There are some good human stories and narratives too along with some key recommendations that remain important today.
  5. Race Matters Blog: For years, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights maintained a blog chronicling legal changes and advocacy efforts to end the NSEERS program. There are several sign-on letters and articles from advocates and members of Congress. This archive appears here: http://endnseers.blogspot.com/