During his first speech to the joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump once again defended his controversial travel ban barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
In fact, he suggested anything short of his xenophobic and racist ban — which targets citizens of Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran — would be “reckless” to national security.
“According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” the commander-in-chief told Congress. “We have seen the attacks at home — from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.”
The statement sent fact-checking sites into overdrive.
It is unclear what report Trump is citing his stats from, but the thing is, foreigners were not even entirely responsible for the attacks he singled out in his address.
For instance, Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed 14 people in the deadly 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California, with the help his Pakistani wife, was born in Chicago.
As for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who planted the bombs at Boston Marathon in April 2013 killing three and injured over 280, was a naturalized American citizen born in Kyrgyzstan — a country not on Trump’s no-entry list.
So no, Trump’s Muslim ban would not have stopped these terror attacks.
In his disturbingly nationalist speech, Trump also brought up the terror attacks in Europe.
“It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values,” he continued. “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America — we cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists. That is why my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe — and to keep out those who would do us harm.”
As the Department of Homeland Security Department recently revealed, of the 82 people they determined were inspired by a foreign terrorists to attempt or carry out an attacks in the U.S., just over half were native-born citizens.
The president’s use of 2015 attack to justify his plans to limit immigration also offended San Bernardino Rep. Pete Aguilar.
“It's just inaccurate and wrong to use San Bernardino as justification for any of the policies that he's rolled out,” Aguilar told the Los Angeles Times. “There are things that we can work on when it comes to self-radicalization and the use of social media platforms, but none of what the president has proposed would have changed the outcome of San Bernardino and that's frankly quite offensive.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Rick Wilking