The Department of Homeland Security published a final rule Friday in the Federal Register that eliminates regulations that created the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a program introduced in 2002 that required nonimmigrants from designated predominantly Arab and Muslim countries to complete special registration procedures when traveling to the U.S.

Key points:

  • The final rule removes the regulatory framework for the NSEERS program.
  • DHS stated that the program is obsolete and redundant of other automated systems that have since been introduced. The agency stopped using the NSEERS program in 2011.
  • The Trump administration could reinstate the NSEERS regulations or introduce similar regulations, but would need to go through rulemaking procedures.

Background: NSEERS was introduced in 2002 and required males over 16 years old from 25 designated countries to be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival and report their whereabouts within 30 days and every year thereafter. A DHS public notice in 2011 stated that the agency would no longer require NSEERS registration and removed all countries from the designated list. In 2012, the Office of the Inspector General of DHS recommended that the program be eliminated, citing a strain on resources and ineffectual functioning of the program.

BAL Analysis: President-elect Trump has said he will impose “extreme vetting” on travelers from certain regions, which could take the form of reviving the post-Sept. 11 “special registration” procedures. The removal of previous regulations would make it more difficult for the incoming administration to reinstate the NSEERS program, however. BAL continues to follow immigration-related policies of the incoming administration.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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