President Trump signed a National Security Memorandum on Tuesday establishing a Vetting Center aimed at improving the Screening Process of those who want to enter the U.S. “Border and immigration security are essential to ensuring the safety, security and prosperity of the United States,” the President said in the Memorandum. “I am, therefore, directing the establishment of a National Vetting Center (Center) subject to the oversight and guidance of a National Vetting Governance Board (Board), to coordinate the management and governance of the national vetting enterprise.”
The Directive doesn’t establish New Authorities or call for New Funding. The Center is to be finalized within Six months. Developing it will be a combined effort of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence. Their job is “to identify individuals who present a threat to national security, border security, homeland security or public safety,” according to the statement.
“As part of the president’s efforts to raise the global bar for security and protect Americans, we’ve put in place tougher vetting and tighter screening for all individuals seeking to enter the United States,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement, responding to Trump’s announcement. “The National Vetting Center will support unprecedented work by DHS and the entire U.S. intelligence community to keep terrorists, violent criminals and other dangerous individuals from reaching our shores.”
This Directive also lays out the streamlining of the Immigration Vetting process for certain People who are already in the U.S. Because the Trump Administration expects Protests from different Civil Rights Movements, the Memorandum also establishes a Panel that will Supervise Privacy and Civil Rights issues that may arise during the Vetting process.
Seth Stodder, a former DHS Assistant Secretary for Border, Immigration and Trade Policy from 2016 to 2017, said the Vetting Center Idea surfaced in the Obama Administration but that Trump had changed it to focus more on Immigration.
The Center aligns with the President’s Plan for “Extreme Vetting,” which he has pushed for during his first year in Office. His Travel Ban is focused on several Muslim-Majority Countries, though the Measure has been tied up in the Federal Courts.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection runs the National Targeting Center, which Tracks Passengers and Cargo that could pose a Threat to U.S. Security, similar to Trump’s proposed Vetting System. Other Departments and Agencies have their own Programs, and the idea of a Single, Centralized Screening Center makes sense, Stodder said. “The concept of a national vetting center is not a bad idea,” he said. “But it’s not about vetting immigrants. It’s about vetting people.”
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