Trump administration seeks creation of a National Vetting Center to screen immigrants


Days after giving his State of the Union speech, President Trump signed a memo ordering the establishment of a National Vetting Center over the next six months. The center is meant to coordinate efforts between the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and other agencies in screening immigrants such as visitors, visa applicants, and people in deportation proceedings.

While these agencies are still in the beginning stages of developing the center’s function and goals, it is very likely meant to embody President Trump’s campaign promises regarding “extreme vetting.” The president has long claimed that insufficient scrutiny of immigrants has proven to create holes in our national security, namely in the form of allowing terrorists to enter the country.

Critics argue that both as candidate and president, Mr. Trump has misrepresented the facts about the United States’ existing vetting processes and elided both our immigration and investigative agencies’ noteworthy success in screening out potential threats. A National Vetting Center may actually dilute existing counterterrorism efforts through added bureaucracy ( Furthermore, Mr. Trump has consistently demonized immigrants in contradiction to all reliable research on matters like criminality and assimilation.

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