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The White House encourages debate on immigration with terrorism statistics

In recent days, the debate over a possible immigration commitment has turned into a discussion fight over racially charged comments and blasphemous phrases. Tuesday's report was an attempt by the Trump government to use data compiled by the government to make a higher and policy-based argument about the president's pressure for a merit-based immigration system.

Testifying at the Capitol, Kirstjen Nielsen, national security The secretary said that the report's findings were "really creepy facts". He pointed to the case of Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, an Uzbek citizen who entered the United States in 2011 through the Diversity Visa Lottery, a State Department program that allows immigrants from countries that do not send many people to the United States. . He pleaded guilty in 2015 to conspiring to support the Islamic State after posting a threat on a Uzbek-language website to assassinate President Barack Obama in an act of martyrdom.

Mr. Trump is trying to end the visa lottery and enact new restrictions on the ability of immigrants to bring extended family members to the United States as part of an immigration commitment currently under discussion.

But the statistics were remarkable so it did not contain what they did.

They included cases – a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to detail the report could not say how many – in which foreigners were extradited to the United States to face a trial. That means that, in fact, they did not enter the country "through our immigration system," as stated in the White House fact sheet.

The statistics also included charges related to terrorism for attacks or other crimes carried out abroad, instead of the United States. In addition, they omitted episodes of domestic terrorism that accounted for a considerable number of deaths related to terrorism during the same 15-year period. During the testimony of Capitol Hill last year, the F.B.I. the director, Christopher A. Wray, told lawmakers that the office had "about 1,000" open investigations of national terrorism and an equal number in terrorist groups like the Islamic State. In a bulletin published last May, the F.B.I. He reported that white supremacist groups were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016, "more than any other extremist internal movement."

Tuesday's report highlighted cases in which the offender entered through the diversified lottery or family ties with legal immigrants, but the White House official could not say what proportion of people in each of those categories had been convicted of terrorism.

Democrats and civil liberties groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the report defective and politically motivated.

"This misleading report is based on fabricated data to perpetuate the myth that immigrants – specifically, those from Muslim countries – are dangerous elements within our country," representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, The leading Democrats in the Judicial and National Security Committees said 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."

The report was prepared to comply with an executive order that Mr. Trump issued in March to prohibit foreigners from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. The order, which has expired and been replaced with a new travel ban, requires the Department of Justice and Homeland Security to collect and publicly disclose information about the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with related crimes. with terrorism. 19659012] Based on a Department of Justice database, the report found that at least 549 people had been convicted on charges related to international terrorism in federal courts between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2016. [19659012] A national security analysis said that 402 of them, or about 73 percent, were born abroad. That included 254 who were not US citizens, 148 who naturalized and became citizens and 147 who were citizens by birth.

According to the March order, the report was supposed to have been published in September. On Tuesday, the senior administration official admitted that he was behind schedule, but denied that it was launched now to influence the growing debate over an immigration commitment.

Now it will be updated and issued every 180 days, he said.

According to the Cato Institute, although the report focuses on "terrorism-related" crimes, data from the Justice Department show that around 40 percent of these cases have nothing to do with terrorism. Instead, they include crimes such as theft, child pornography and immigration crimes, said David Bier, a policy analyst at Cato.

Mr. Bier said his investigation showed that since the Sept. 11 attacks, only 35 foreigners entered the country and committed terrorism offenses of any kind, including sending money abroad or going abroad to a group.

"The fact is that despite the huge government resources, the DOJ-DHS report adds little to our understanding of terrorist threats," he said.

A three-page assessment by the Department of Homeland Security published last year revealed that "the country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity."

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