Are you an immigrant? Do you have any “unique” traits that indicate where you’ve come from or what non-white Anglo-Saxon line of blood you are a descendent of? If so, you can pretty much guarantee that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is against your residency in this country. How dare you take up the space that is meant for “real” Americans? Kobach has decided that you pose a threat to the safety of our country…which is also YOUR country as much as Kobach would like to get you to feel otherwise. I know this because not only is he helping Trump shape his incredibly restrictive and bigoted immigration policy reforms, he has a history of being a shameless white nationalist.
The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System was created in reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The sociopolitical climate of our country immediately after that horrific event was one that called for the implementation of programs that would enhance national security measures so as to ensure that any future attempts to attack us would be thwarted. During such nerve-wracking times when the whole nation is plagued by fear and uncertainty, it is important for the leadership to be the calming authority figure that can be counted on to take drastic action if that’s what they deem necessary in order to put Americans’ minds at ease. It has to start with restoring the people’s trust in their government’s ability to protect them. If the means to that end involves restricting the rights of certain groups of people due to the likeness of their physical characteristics or religious beliefs to those of the perpetrator of the most recent act of violence, then that is just the price our country is willing to pay in return for some peace of mind. Now let me repeat that sentiment but using words that more accurately reflect how these ideas play out in reality. The wealthy white elite are perfectly okay with disenfranchising groups that are different from them, because different means not as good or important, and then when it’s the same type of different as the individual that committed an act of terror against our nation – well then what other choice is there but to assume that all the members of this group are just as likely as the actual perpetrator to be a threat to our nation’s safety. If you subscribe to the same religious as a terrorist, the govenrment feels it is justified in lumping you in with that person and taking away some of your rights, even though you as an individual have done nothing wrong. Because #safetyfirst, right?
No. Not right at all.
After terror attacks, restoring the country to a sense of “normalcy” is easier when the flawed logic behind the process used to do so is just not addressed. How can you determine an individuals potential to take a certain action in the future if the only evidence that exists which would serve to support your conclusion is that the same action was already taken by someone similar to them? Similar in that they share certain characteristics that have not been proven to have any direct bearing on any one person’s capacity for violence, thought processes, decision-making skills, personal values and morals, etc. But these aspects of their being are not acknowledged because judgement was already passed long ago, the moment it became apparent that this person is the same kind of “other” as the person that did the terrible thing to our country.
If you fall into any number of the multitude of groups considered “others” you may be familiar with this treatment.
The nuances regarding what type of person you are on the inside, or whether your heart is as big and warm as the sun – these are all irrelevant when our country (=rich white men) are feeling vulnerable and on unsteady ground because a totally separate, free-thinking individual that was from the same geographic area or shared some of your physical attributes took violent action against our beloved citizens – a group that you actually consider yourself a member of.It’s just too bad your skin color/ accent/ hair texture/ hijab usage/other noticeably distinguishing characteristics had to out you as a possible member of the “opposition.”
A brain wracked with fear will go to great lengths to make sense of things it does not understand. It is easier to come to terms with something that you were able to classify in some way, even if the thread connecting one thing to the other is incredibly thin.
Here we are 15 years later, and our collective anxiety level is not equivalent to that which we experienced following 9/11. Probably because we haven’t been attacked again on such a grand scale ever since that day. So is there really a justifiable need for the reinstatement of NSEERS? What perceived threat is the Trump camp basing this sudden need for targeted data collection? If the safety of Americans truly is at risk, if the general population feels as though their basic human rights are being threatened, they will look to the government to provide them with protection through any means necessary, which can –and some would say should – include racial, ethnic, and religious profiling. If most terrorists are known to be Muslim, then why shouldn’t we take the extra precaution of having every single member of the Muslim faith be legally made to undergo procedures that no other Americans are expected to do? (Hint: that’s called persecution and it’s just not nice). It is not only immoral and illogical to hold an entire group responsible for the violent actions of a select number of individual group members, but it is also an inefficient means of policing for potential future perpetrators. In terms of successfully managing issues to do with national security, the government’s resources would be more effective if they were allocated toward the implementation of safety initiatives that used actually relevant facts as evidence when determining whether the person being monitored poses any threat to our nation at all. NSEERS has no place in 2017 America.
Additional Note: I’m not sure if this is meant to be humorous, tongue-in-cheek, or completely serious, but someone has created a “National Registry of White Males” google doc and I wanted to share it.