Three quarters of US terrorists were foreign born: Trump study

The Trump administration on Tuesday released a report claiming that 73 percent of those convicted of international terrorism-related offenses since the 9/11 attacks were foreign born. (AP)
Updated 17 January 2018
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Three quarters of US terrorists were foreign born: Trump study

NEW YORK: The Trump administration on Tuesday released a report claiming that 73 percent of those convicted of international terrorism-related offenses since the 9/11 attacks were foreign born, as it moves to tighten immigration rules.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Justice Department assessed that three out every four people convicted of international terror charges were born overseas. Muslim rights activists told Arab News that their study was flawed and biased.
US federal courts convicted at least 549 people with international terrorism-related charges between Sept. 11, 2001, and December 31, 2016, the report said. Of those, 254 were not US citizens and 148 had become naturalized US citizens. Another 147 were born US citizens.
The report names convicted terrorists from Sudan, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen and other countries with large or majority Muslim populations, echoing President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the threat from Islamist militants.
It focusses on acts planned and committed outside the US and those within the US that involved Daesh or another foreign group. It excludes acts of so-called domestic terrorism that did not involve overseas organizations.
“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality — our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Republican, said in a statement.
“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 US, including hundreds of people who came here as refugees.”
During the 2016 election campaign, Trump pledged to temporarily halt Muslim immigration to the US and, since taking office, issued a travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries and a ban on refugees that has been dogged by legal challenges.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim civil rights group, told Arab News that the report’s authors had cherry-picked data to substantiate their prejudices.
“It’s reverse-engineering the numbers to stigmatize immigrants and Muslims, and disregarding the high number of domestic terror incidents that are not included in this report by really sidestepping all the domestic terrorism by white supremacists and the like,” Hooper said.
“Going forward, every report and policy from this administration has to be viewed from the prism of racism and the white supremacy that’s at the core of what the Trump administration is trying to do, based on the president’s statements and actions.”
Washington is currently debating an overhaul of America’s immigration system, with Democrats pushing for an amnesty for some undocumented migrants and their children, while many Republicans want to tighten US borders and immigration rules.
Trump has linked recent terrorist attacks to immigration, and called for eliminating the green card lottery, restricting asylum applications, combatting people who overstay their visas and stopping the so-called “chain migration” of family members to the US.
In a recent meeting with Democrat and Republican lawmakers, Trump sparked outrage by allegedly disparaging Haiti and Africa with an expletive to express his reluctance to welcome migration from impoverished nations.
The White House says the current system brings too many people to the country who cannot assimilate and lack skills and education to contribute to society. It vaunts the point-based systems of Australia and Canada.
“Our properly functioning immigration system promotes assimilation in all its forms, through whatever mechanism by which those individuals come to the US,” a senior administration official said.
“It doesn’t promote the admission of individuals who are not likely to succeed, who are not likely to assimilate, and who could potentially radicalize or may already be radicalized to pose a threat to our national security.”


UK prime minister in last-minute push to win Brexit support

A European flag and a British Union flag hang outside Europe House, the European Parliament's British offices in London, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP)
Updated 22 min 8 sec ago
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UK prime minister in last-minute push to win Brexit support

  • May aims to try a third time this week if she can persuade enough lawmakers to change their minds
  • May’s spokesman, James Slack, said Monday that the government would only hold a vote if there is “a realistic prospect of success”

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May was making a last-minute push Monday to win support for her European Union divorce deal, warning opponents that failure to approve it would mean a long — and possibly indefinite — delay to Brexit.
Parliament has rejected the agreement twice, but May aims to try a third time this week if she can persuade enough lawmakers to change their minds. Her aim is to have the deal agreed before EU leaders meet Thursday for a summit in Brussels.
But there was no sign of a breakthrough, and the government faces a deadline of the end of Tuesday to decide whether they have enough votes to pass the deal, so that a vote can be held on Wednesday.
May’s spokesman, James Slack, said Monday that the government would only hold a vote if there is “a realistic prospect of success.”
May is likely to ask for a delay to Brexit at the Brussels summit. If a deal is approved, she says she will ask the EU to extend the deadline until June 30 so that Parliament has time to approve the necessary legislation. If it isn’t, she will have to seek a longer extension that would mean Britain participating in May 23-26 elections for the European Parliament — something the government is keen to avoid.
May’s goal is to win over Northern Ireland’s small, power-brokering Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP’s 10 lawmakers prop up May’s Conservative government, and their support could influence pro-Brexit Conservatives to drop their opposition to the deal.
Still, May faces a struggle to reverse the huge margins of defeat for the agreement in Parliament. It was rejected by 230 votes in January and by 149 votes last week.
Influential Conservative Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would wait to see what the DUP decided before making up his mind on whether to support May’s deal.
“No deal is better than a bad deal, but a bad deal is better than remaining in the European Union,” he told LBC radio.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Monday he saw “cautious signs of encouragement” that the deal might make it through Parliament this week.
After months of political deadlock, British lawmakers voted last week to seek to postpone Brexit. That will likely avert a chaotic British withdrawal on the scheduled exit date of March 29 — although the power to approve or reject a Brexit extension lies with the EU, whose leaders are fed up with British prevarication.
EU leaders say they will only grant it if Britain has a solid plan for what to do with the extra time.
“We have to know what the British want: How long, what is the reason supposed to be, how it should go, what is actually the aim of the extension?” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Brussels. “The longer it is delayed, the more difficult it will certainly be.”
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders agreed, saying: “We are not against an extension in Belgium, but the problem is — to do what?“
Opposition to May’s deal centers on a measure designed to ensure there is no hard border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
The mechanism, known as the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until a permanent new trading relationship is in place. Brexit supporters in Britain fear the backstop could be used to bind the country to EU regulations indefinitely, and the DUP fears it could lead to a weakening of the bonds between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK
Talks between the government and the DUP are aimed at reassuring the party that Britain could not be trapped in the backstop indefinitely.
May said in an article for the Sunday Telegraph that failure to approve the deal meant “we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever.”
“The idea of the British people going to the polls to elect MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) three years after voting to leave the EU hardly bears thinking about,” she wrote.
But May suffered a setback Monday when former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refused to support her deal.
Johnson, a staunch Brexiteer, used his column in the Daily Telegraph to argue that the backstop left the UK vulnerable to “an indefinite means of blackmail” by Brussels.