A Major Victory Was Won, but the Fight Against Muslim Registries Is Not Over

This morning we received the news that the Obama administration is going to shut down the regulatory framework that has kept special registration in place since the onset of this policy in 2002-2003.  

This is good news and we must take a moment to recognize the advocates, activists, and directly impacted community members that made this win possible. We want to thank grassroots groups like Desis Rising Up and Moving and numerous national and local groups around the country.

Though we couldn't be more thrilled by this development, we know that the work is far from over. As recently as yesterday, when President-elect Trump was asked about his previous statements regarding a Muslim registry and ban on Muslim immigrants trying to enter the United States, he responded saying, "You know my plans."

This continues to be alarming, particularly when considering that the NSEERS program withstood the constitutional muster (it was dismantled because of political challenges, not because it was deemed unconstitutional). We also know that the NSEERS program is just one discriminatory and criminalizing policy in the War on Terror, with surveillance tools and tactics evolving considerably since 9/11, so our work must reflect this reality. We must remain cautious and vigilant.

The D.C. Justice for Muslims Coalition will continue to work with other groups around the country to push for measures to protect all vulnerable communities. We especially demand at this time that the Obama administration use all necessary means to protect undocumented people before January 20, 2017- including using a blanket pardon, as advocated here.

But we should definitely view this news as proof that when we make clear demands, we win. We must continue the resistance and ask that we all redouble our efforts because the framework underlying these policies of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia hasn't been rescinded.

Finally, we want to acknowledge that the dismantling of this program comes too late for the at least 13,000 Muslims who were deported and have never received any justice. It is with them in mind that we will continue to push forward our work.

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