As Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, “According to a list maintained by the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, at least 549 individuals were convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2016. Of the 549 individuals, 402 were foreign-born — that’s 73 percent.”
73 percent of terrorists convicted in the U.S. were foreign born: DHS report, by Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, January 16, 2018CBS reporter John Dickerson interviewed Nielsen about the study. He seemed anxious to underline that some Americans were committing the criminal acts in question, ignoring the fact that the foreigners were allowed to enter, and many could have been kept out with better screening.
Most people convicted of international terrorism in U.S. courts since 2001 were foreign born, the Trump administration said in a new report Tuesday that officials said boosts the president’s travel ban.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also had more than 2,500 encounters with people who appear on the FBI’s terrorist watch list in 2017, the administration said. And since 2001 deportation officers have ousted more than 1,700 foreigners over national security concerns.
“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality — our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
He said there are “thousands of people” facing terrorism-related investigations right now.
The new report found at least 549 people convicted of international terrorism charges in U.S. federal courts since the 2001 attacks. Of those, 254 weren’t citizens, and another 148 were foreign born but ended up getting U.S. citizenship through the immigration system.
JOHN DICKERSON: Secretary Nielsen, you have a new report that has been created by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. What does the report say?
SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN: Well, I’ll just start by telling you it’s very concerning. I think what it underlines is that we need to be very clear who’s coming into our country, make sure they’re not a terrorist. The most important figure I think from the report is that 73 percent of all those convicted of international-related offenses, terrorism-related offenses over the last 15 years were foreign born. So that’s quite a substantial percentage.
DICKERSON: So if you’re concerned, is this a clear and present danger?
NIELSEN: Of course. Absolutely. I think the president’s been very clear. I think this underscores the need to not only implement the executive orders that he’s issued over the past year, but I feel very strongly about going to Congress today during a hearing and work with them to close the loopholes that prevent us from removing known, suspected terrorists and other criminals in the United States.
DICKERSON: So what policy rises up out of these numbers?
NIELSEN: I think what we take directly away from the report is we need to continue to enhance our screening and vetting. But it also tells us we need to continually vet those who are here. We have examples unfortunately over the last decades of terrorist attacks from legal permanent residents and others who were naturalized. So we need to be able to continue up until the point they become a U.S. citizen, to continue to vet them to ensure they haven’t become radicalized.