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Three-fourths of international terrorists in US were foreign born, says report

The report stated that in the period from September 11, 2001 to December 2016, 549 individuals were convicted in cases related to international terrorism.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2018 22:48 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
terrorists,September 11,Donald Trump
The report was ordered by US President Donald Trump in March 2017.(Reuters File)

Three-fourths of convicted terrorists in the US since September 11, 2001 were foreign-born, the Trump administration has said in a new report released on Tuesday.

The report, which was released by the department of justice and the department of homeland security, was clearly intended to add to its growing body of arguments in favour of ending chain migration and the diversity visa programme. It stated that in the period ending December 2016, 549 individuals were convicted in cases related to international terrorism. Of that number, 402 of them —73% — were foreign-born, including 254 who were not even US citizens.

“This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality—our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,” attorney general Jeff Sessions said in a statement, adding that US can be a safer place by ”securing our porous borders, moving to a merit-based immigration system that ends the use of diversity visas and chain migration”.

But neither the report nor an official who briefed reporters on background were able to answer how many foreign-born convicted terrorists came to the US through the chain-migration or the diversity visa programmes.

The report, which will be renewed every 180 days, did not spell out immigration details of every one of the 549 convicted individuals, but the official said most of them came from Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq and Syria.

All the countries the official named were Muslim-majority, but he denied the report was making a religion-specific point either way.

The report also did not cite or analyse cases of domestic terrorism, especially those perpetrated by white supremacists such as the killing of six people at a Wisconsin gurdwara in 2012 or of nine African-Americans at a South Carolina church in 2015.

Ordered by President Donald Trump in March 2017, the report was long overdue and a senior administration official said its release during the ongoing debate on immigration triggered by efforts to protect DACA applicants from deportation was purely coincidental.

First Published: Jan 16, 2018 22:10 IST