Donald Trump’s policy advisers are discussing plans to establish a registry for Muslim immigrants in the U.S., The Independent said on Thursday.
Kris Kobach, the secretary of state for Kansas, said the President-elect’s advisers were looking at how to implement a proposal suggested by the billionaire businessman that would force immigrants from Muslim countries to register on a database.
Kobach, who helped devise tough immigration laws in a number of U.S. states and claims to have participated in regular conference calls with Trump’s immigration advisers, also said the Trump administration could push ahead rapidly on construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall without seeking immediate congressional approval.
The hardline immigration official, whose role has not been confirmed by the President-elect’s transition team but who is thought to be a favourite for the role of Attorney General, said the immigration group had discussed drafting executive orders for the President-elect's review “so that Trump and the Department of Homeland Security hit the ground running”.
The Muslim registration scheme, which would reportedly see Muslims given a form of identification that notes their religion, reflects policies Trump put forward during his campaign to introduce “extreme vetting”
of Muslims through tougher security measures.
Such a programme would echo a registration system created under Bush’s presidency, which Kobach also helped design, and which required thousands of Arab and Muslim visitors and temporary U.S. residents to register with the state, but was abandoned in 2011 after it was criticised for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim-majority nations.
Created in 2002 following the 9/11 attacks, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEER) required Muslims from countries where extremist organisations were active to provide information about themselves, undergo interviews with officials and periodically notify the government of their whereabouts.
In the interview, Kobach said immigration advisers were also looking at how the Homeland Security Department could move rapidly on Trump's plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico without approval from Congress, acknowledging that “future fiscal years will require additional appropriations”.
Trump presented a hardline stance on Muslims in the US during his election campaign, making a call to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country and proposing the introduction of special identity cards for American Muslims during a debate over Syrian refugees entering the country.
While Trump appeared to have pulled back on the anti-Muslim rhetoric immediately after he was elected, he has since indicated he still plans to follow through on his plans.
Kobach reportedly said in the interview that he believed that illegal immigrants in some cases should be deported before a conviction if they have been charged with a violent crime, echoing Trump’s recent pledge to remove immigrants with criminal records who are in the country illegally.