The United States government under President Barack Obama has formally withdrawn an “obsolete” national registry that was meant to keep a close watch on non-immigrants from countries known to harbour terror outfits. The move makes it difficult for President-elect Donald Trump to create a so-called “Muslim registry”, one of his most controversial campaign promises.

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday said the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System had become obsolete, and that they had stopped using the programme in 2011 after finding that it “no longer provided an increase in security”. Obama’s move is being seen as a bold effort to put obstacles in Trump’s way.

The department had issued a notice to the Federal Register in 2011 saying it did not need the manual registration system anymore as it had since implemented multiple new automated methods to record information on non-immigrant travellers to the US. However, the programme remained part of the department’s regulations.

Under the programme, immigrants from 25 Muslim-majority countries were required to be fingerprinted and photographed, as well as to provide additional biographical data. They could also be called upon by Homeland Security to provide additional information at any time.

Among Trump’s other anti-immigration stances are his call for a ban on the entry of Muslims into the country, as well as a promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.