Trump to establish National Vetting Center focused on travelers, immigrants to US

President Donald Trump is expected to si...

Posted: Feb. 6, 2018 10:20 AM
Updated: Feb. 6, 2018 10:20 AM

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a national security memorandum on Tuesday establishing a "National Vetting Center" aimed at improving vetting of those looking to enter the US, two administration officials told CNN.

The presidential memorandum will give the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies six months to establish the center, which administration officials said is intended to streamline vetting and improve the flow of information between various federal agencies.

The memorandum Trump is expected to sign on Tuesday will not establish any new authorities or call for any new funding to establish the vetting center, which will be an effort between DHS, the State Department, Justice Department and intelligence agencies, a National Security Council official said.

It's unclear how this effort will change the way travelers and immigrants to the US are vetted.

While the center's efforts are largely expected to focus on visa applicants, immigrants and others looking to enter the US, the center will also look to streamline vetting of certain individuals who are already in the US, including those subject to deportation proceedings, according to the National Security Council official.

Anticipating concerns from civil liberties groups, the memorandum will also establish a standing privacy and civil liberties panel, which will have some oversight over the National Vetting Center's activities. The membership of that panel will also be determined during the six-month period.

The National Vetting Center is part of the Trump administration's broader efforts to tighten immigration screenings, following Trump's calls for "extreme vetting" during his presidential campaign.

Trump has repeatedly pointed to the need for tighter immigration controls, amplifying his calls in the wake of terrorist attacks -- even when the terrorist in question was born in the US or was radicalized after entering the United States.

Trump has also repeatedly mischaracterized US vetting procedures, suggesting during the campaign and into his presidency that some individuals have entered the US without proper vetting. In railing against the current US visa lottery program, Trump has suggested individuals are randomly selected for entry to the US, leaving out the background screening procedures they must first pass.

The vetting center will be overseen by a board of governors that will likely include Cabinet members, the official said.

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