By Mitchell Blatt*
Reuters reports that Trump advisor and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is advocating for the reinstatement of a Bush-era entry-exit program that put residents from certain countries deemed be at high-risk for terrorism under special scrutiny.
Reuters and Vox both used the term “Muslim registry” in reporting and commenting on the proposal, a reference to the Muslim registry (that would have applied to American citizens) that Trump briefly expressed support for. However, this is far from a Muslim registry. It would apply to citizens of specific countries, not just Muslims from those countries, and the countries would theoretically be selected based on the established risk of terrorism. Vox pointed out that most of those countries were majority Muslim countries, but that is just a function of where the risk of international terrorism is the highest. During the campaign, however, Trump raised the prospect of targeting French citizens for “extreme vetting” due to his idea that ISIS attacks in France indicated France was a high risk country. Either way, the system is far from the proposed registry of American Muslims that Trump expressed support for in November 2015.
The bigger news is that the program would blow up Trump’s promise to ban Muslims from entering the country. Trump promised on December 7, 2015, “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Later, when he appeared to be wobbling on his Muslim ban (without explicitly rescinding it), he proposed a ban on immigration from any country where there was a threat of terrorism. This plan would still allow people from countries at risk for terrorism to enter the country, allow, importantly, in the second iteration of his promise, the word “immigration” was used, while the first iteration called for banning all entries (which would include study and tourism). Kobach’s plan might still satisfy the second iteration of Trump’s “Muslim ban.”
See the full report on Trump’s promises here: Tracking Trump’s Promises
About the author:
*Mitchell Blatt moved to China in 2012, and since then he has traveled and written about politics and culture throughout Asia. A writer and journalist, based in China, he is the lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong guidebook and a contributor to outlets including The Federalist, China.org.cn, The Daily Caller, and Vagabond Journey. Fluent in Chinese, he has lived and traveled in Asia for three years, blogging about his travels at ChinaTravelWriter.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @MitchBlatt.