WASHINGTON: US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mutually released a report on Tuesday, revealing that three out of every four, or 402, individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges in US federal courts between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2016 were foreign-born.
Over the same period, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed approximately 1,716 aliens with national security concerns. Further, in 2017 alone DHS had 2,554 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list (also known as the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database) traveling to the United States, the report stated.
This report was required by Section 11 of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which declared that “it is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including those committed by foreign nationals,” directed a series of actions to enhance the security and safety of the American people.
The actions directed by Executive Order have raised the baseline for the vetting and screening of foreign nationals, prevented the entry of malicious actors, and enhanced the safety and security of the American people.
“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality—our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,” said Attorney General Sessions.
Attorney General added that the information in the report is only tip of the iceberg: they currently have terrorism-related investigations against thousands of people in the United States, including hundreds of people who came as refugees.
He stated that the pillars of President Trump’s immigration policy will make their jobs easier and make the United States a safer place.”
“My top priority as Secretary of Homeland Security is to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” said Secretary Nielsen.
“This report is a clear reminder of why we cannot continue to rely on immigration policy based on pre-9/11 thinking that leaves us woefully vulnerable to foreign-born terrorists, and why we must examine our visa laws and continue to intensify screening and vetting of individuals traveling to the United States to prevent terrorists, criminals, and other dangerous individuals from reaching our country. Without legislative change, DHS will continue to see thousands of terrorists a year attempt to enter the United States, and while we must be right every time, the terrorists only need to be lucky once, he added.
The report reveals that at least 549 individuals were convicted of international terrorism-related charges in US federal courts between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2016.
An analysis conducted by DHS said that approximately 73 per cent (402 of these 549 individuals) were foreign-born. Breaking down the 549 individuals by citizenship status at the time of their respective convictions reveals that, 254 were not US citizens; 148 were foreign-born; and 147 were US citizens by birth.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), since September 11, 2001, there were approximately 1,716 removals of aliens with national security concerns.
DHS encountered 2,554 individuals on the terrorist watchlist (also known as the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database) traveling to the United States.
From October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2017, a total of 355,345 non-U.S. citizen offenders, were arrested after previously being convicted of an aggravated felony. During that same period, a total of 372,098 non-US citizen offenders were removed from the United States after conviction of an aggravated felony or two or more felonies.
Data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate shows that between 2007 and 2017, USCIS referred 45,858 foreign nationals who applied for immigration benefits to ICE for criminal or civil enforcement action, based on information indicating that such foreign nationals had committed public safety-related offenses within the United States.
Between 2010 and 2016, CBP identified and prevented the boarding of 73,261 foreign travellers on flights destined for the United States, who may have presented an immigration or security risk.
In October, the Trump Administration sent to Congress a list of legislative priorities that would enhance our national security—such as eliminating the diversity visa lottery and extended family chain migration, funding the wall, closing loopholes in our asylum system, combatting visa overstays, and closing other loopholes in existing law that potentially benefit aliens who pose threats to our national security.