DOJ Report Omits Data, Undermines Federal Courts, and Demonizes Immigrants

Human Rights First condemned a new Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report on terrorism related offenses and immigration, for its use of selective data to demonize immigrants and undermine federal courts. The report uses highly misleading statistics on the number of international terrorism-related cases since 9/11 that have involved individuals not born in the United States. Notably, the report indicates that 3 out of 4 people convicted in the United States of international terrorism are foreign-born, but fails to mention that the data includes foreigners who committed crimes on foreign soil and then were extradited to the United States.

“This DOJ report is another blatant attempt by Jeff Sessions to demonize immigrants by scaring and misleading the American public. The statistics in the report do not prove the danger of immigration and falsely equate immigrants and terrorism suspects apprehended overseas. Furthermore, by only providing cherry-picked figures, the authors are undermining the valuable counterterrorism work the Department of Justice does on a daily basis,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “The real statistics prove that U.S. federal courts ably handle terrorism-related cases, including international and domestic terrorism-related cases.”

The report, which was compiled pursuant to President Trump’s executive order on “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” does not specify the type of terrorism-related crime the individuals in question were convicted of and omits the number of domestic terrorism-related convictions in the same time period—such as convictions of members of the Klu Klux Klan and neo-Nazi organizations.

The report further ignores that the number of foreign-born individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes—both domestic and international—is statistically miniscule when looking at the entire foreign-born population of the United States. According to the Cato Institute, during the same time period of the report, that the chances of a U.S. citizen being killed by a foreign-born terrorist on U.S. soil was roughly 1 in 145 million per year, compared to the odds of being killed by a native-born American on U.S. soil, 1 in 40.6 million per year.

“The Trump Administration is trying to stoke public fear of immigrants and refugees in an effort to enact draconian legislative proposals that have already been shown to be too extreme for Congress,” added Wala. “The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security need to release all the data, which will show that the report is more about playing politics than it is about national security.”

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