Between 2008 and 2016, far-right extremists with no connection to Islam plotted and carried out more attacks in the United States than Muslims or any other foreign born terrorists.
In fact, since President Donald Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white U.S.-born men than those who lost their lives in terror attacks carried out by foreign-born individuals.
However, neither the president nor his racist, xenophobic cronies are concerned about those statistics — because all they care about (besides not upsetting the National Rifle Association) is transferring the blame onto immigrants in a bid to end two immigration programs.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) released an 11-page report that claims most U.S. terrorists are foreign-born individuals. The report, backed by the Department of Homeland Security, not only completely glossed over the issue of domestic terrorism, but cooked up false statistics to showcase the supposed danger of diversity visa lottery or issuing citizenship to people related to American citizens.
“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality — our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the report. “And the information in this report is only the tip of the iceberg: we currently have terrorism-related investigations against thousands of people in the United States, including hundreds of people who came here as refugees. Our law enforcement professionals do amazing work, but it is simply not reasonable to keep asking them to risk their lives to enforce the law while we admit thousands every year without sufficient knowledge about their backgrounds.”
According to the report, U.S. federal courts indicted at least 549 individuals on international terrorism-related charges between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2016, out of which 402 people (approximately 73 percent) were foreign-born.
Shortly after the report was released, Trump went on to tweet this.
New report from DOJ & DHS shows that nearly 3 in 4 individuals convicted of terrorism-related charges are foreign-born. We have submitted to Congress a list of resources and reforms....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2018
The thing is, the report is not just confusing, it is also incredibly misleading.
For starters, Trump failed to mention that three out of four individuals convicted of international terrorism or terrorism-related charges were foreign-born.
“If you’re looking at international terrorism, you’re going to see people with a more international background — that’s just common sense,” explained William Braniff, the executive director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland.
Secondly, the stats are all wrong.
The director of the Center on National Security at the Fordham University School of Law, Karen Greenberg, said the percentage of U.S.-born individuals indicted for terrorism is now 54 percent, which is far beyond the 27 percent conviction rate Trump administration touted in its report in a bid to obscure “the fact that the number of U.S.-born international terrorism defendants have doubled.”
“I think they are doing everything they can to justify the Muslim ban, and the unfortunate part of this is the backing away from the homegrown terrorist suspect ... and how to prevent it,” she said. “And if you are born in another country and, 20 years later, you become a terrorist, whose fault is that — the country you were born in or the country you've lived in?”
After all, two of the worst mass shootings of 2017 — the Las Vegas shooting by Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others, and the Texas church shooting Devin Kelley who killed 26 innocent men, women and children while critically injuring at least 20 in Sutherland Springs — were both carried out by white U.S.-born men.
“This misleading report relies on manufactured data to perpetuate a myth that immigrants — specifically, those from Muslim countries — are dangerous elements within our country,” opined Reps. Jerry Nadler and Bennie Thompson, the ranking members of the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, in a joint statement. “The Administration then uses these falsehoods as reasoning and license for policies that promote the continued abuse of our rights and civil liberties.”
Meanwhile, the report also added a small tidbit about the 147 convicted terrorists who were born in the U.S.
“Information pertaining to the citizenship status of the parents of these 147 individuals was not available at the time of this report’s issuance,” read a footnote. In future, the report promised it “will endeavor to provide additional details pertaining to foreign nationals or naturalized U.S. citizens convicted of international terrorism-related offenses, such as their manner of entry into the United States, countries of origin, general immigration histories, and other related information.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Eduardo Munoz