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Obama moves to shut down the 9/11-era Muslim watchlist before Trump takes office

The Obama administration on Thursday submitted a rule change to be published in the federal registry Friday to shut down the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), the post-9/11 registry of visitors to the United States from 25 nations with terrorist activity. All but one of the 25 nations were majority-Muslim. The move comes after the outgoing president was urged to eliminate NSEERS before President-elect Donald Trump could use it as a basis for the "Muslim registry" he and his surrogates have proposed in varying iterations.

Previously suspended in 2011, NSEERS registered some 85,000 people and removed about 13,000 immigrants, most of them Muslim, from the United States. Despite that volume of surveillance, the defunct program never produced a single terrorism-related prosecution.

Criticized by civil libertarians for its invasiveness and ineffectiveness, NSEERS was largely forgotten until Trump's registry idea, which the president-elect revived this week following Monday's terrorist attack at a Christmas market in Germany.