Obama Administration Dismantles Program Targeting Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities



Dec. 22, 2016

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;


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Obama Administration Dismantles Program Targeting Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Stands Firmly Against Creation of Muslim Registry

Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security dismantled the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), a program that targeted foreign nationals from 25 countries based on religion, ethnicity, and national origin. NSEERS caused harm particularly to Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities, subjecting those registered to interrogations, detention and in some cases, deportation. The Department of Homeland Security ended the use of NSEERS in 2011, and today’s actions will make it more difficult for President-elect Trump to begin his proposed Muslim registry program.

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and its member organizations have strongly advocated against NSEERS. NCAPA and 16 members signed a coalition letter* last month, led by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), urging President Obama to rescind the NSEERS framework.

Advocates also marched from the Department of Justice to the White House on Dec. 12 in a #NoMuslimRegistry rally led by Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) and Moveon.org. NCAPA member National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) marched and Advancing Justice | AAJC was a partner. A #NoMuslimRegistry Moveon.org petition garnered more than 136,000 signatures.

Lakshmi Sridaran, Director of National Policy and Advocacy at South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) & NCAPA civil rights committee co-chair: "The NSEERS program not only took an immense toll on the more than 80,000 men forced to register, but their families and communities who were left behind when more than 13,000 of those men were placed into deportation proceedings. SAALT and our local partners have worked tirelessly with those directly impacted to first ensure that the 25 countries part of NSEERS were delisted in 2011. Today is the final piece of the victory with the dismantling of the regulation, which will hopefully make the creation of a Muslim registry and any federal policy that sanctions racial profiling that much more difficult to implement. We honor today's victory and will continue to work for justice on behalf of our communities."

NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang: “We commend President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security for dismantling the NSEERS program once and for all. This program did not lead to a single terrorism conviction, and look at its costs--not only in terms of lost resources that could have better protected our national security, but also to those individuals and communities that were wrongly targeted and indeed to our nation’s values. We will continue to resist calls for a Muslim registry and will not back down from urging our elected leaders and communities to ensure that one is not created.”

Advancing Justice | AAJC and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) issued statements applauding this announcement.

*The following NCAPA members signed the ADC letter: Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), Advancing Justice | AAJC, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Center for APA Women, Laotian American National Alliance (LANA), National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA), National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD), National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), OCA, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).


Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.


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