SESSIONS: ‘Our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety…’
(Brendan Clarey, Liberty Headlines) The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security released a report Tuesday that detailed how many individuals arrested for terrorism were foreign-born.
According to the report, almost three quarters of those arrested for terrorism were born outside of the country, between September 11, 2001 to December 30, 2016.
Out of 549 people who were arrested for terrorist activities, 402 were foreign-born. 254 were not U.S. citizens and 148 were naturalized.
“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality—our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release. “And the information in this report is only the tip of the iceberg: we currently have terrorism-related investigations against thousands of people in the United States, including hundreds of people who came here as refugees.”
The report was produced to comply with an executive order by President Trump.
Sessions advocated for greater security before allowing immigrants into the country.
“Our law enforcement professionals do amazing work, but it is simply not reasonable to keep asking them to risk their lives to enforce the law while we admit thousands every year without sufficient knowledge about their backgrounds,” Sessions said. “The pillars of President Trump’s immigration policy—securing our porous borders, moving to a merit-based immigration system that ends the use of diversity visas and chain migration, and enforcing our nation’s laws—will make their jobs easier and make the United States a safer place.”
Over the same fifteen-year-period, ICE removed about 1,716 aliens because of national security concerns, the report said.
The report also shows that in 2017 alone, DHS “encountered 2,554 individuals on the terrorist watchlist,” also known as the Terrorist Screening Database, who were traveling to the United States.
Of these, 335 tried to enter the country by land; 2,170 by air; and 49 by sea.
“Where consistent with the law, such individuals are denied entry into the United States, while in some cases law enforcement authorities are notified and can take appropriate action,” the report said.
In a press release about the report, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called for immigration law reform to prevent terrorists from entering the country.
“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,” Nielsen said in the release. “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.”
Last week the House of Representatives passed four bills directly related to recommendations from the Homeland Security Committee’s Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry to the United States, which was charged with identifying and introducing recommendations on how to shut down terrorist pathways into the United States.
House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) issued a statement following the release of the DOJ/DHS report.
“These findings are further proof that we need to pass legislation expeditiously to strengthen our borders and enforce our existing laws…,” he said. “As I have said in the past, the American people have been waiting for their leaders to step up, get the job done, and better protect our country.”