Tuesday, February 14, 2017

72 terror convictions from countries on travel ban list

Many news outlets have reported that there had been no Americans killed by terrorists from any of the countries that were part of the temporary travel ban imposed by President Trump’s Executive Order. It is true that no successful attacks were carried out by immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan or Syria, but it now appears that there is more to the story.

The Washington Times reports that at least 72 immigrants from the countries that make up the ban have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes since Sept. 11, 2001. The data compiled by the Senate Judiciary Committee and analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies also points out at that at least 17 of the convicted terrorists entered the country through the federal refugee program singled out by Mr. Trump. Many of the immigrants were convicted of minor crimes such as fraud, but the report indicates that more than 30 of the convicts served at least three years in jail for their crimes.

One of the most serious incidents involving a terrorist from the countries singled out by Mr. Trump was the Nov. 28, 2016 stabbing spree at Ohio State University. The perpetrator of the attack was a Somali refugee who had also lived in Pakistan. The attacker injured 11 people before killed by a police officer.

The Times noted that James Robart, the federal judge who originally blocked the Executive Order, was unaware of any of the arrests and seemed to be unaware of the OSU attack as well. Judge Robart asked a lawyer for the Justice Department, “How many arrests have there been of foreign nationals for those seven countries since 9/11?” The lawyer was unable to answer the question.

“Let me tell you. The answer to that is none, as best I can tell,” Robart replied. “So, I mean, you’re here arguing on behalf of someone that says ‘We have to protect the United States from these individuals coming from these countries,’ and there’s no support for that.”

The issue surfaced again on appeal when a three-judge panel noted in its ruling that the government “has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.” The lawyers for the government apparently failed to present any of the convictions or the reports of the OSU attack as evidence to support their case.

Records of the terror convictions should have been easily accessible to both the lawyers arguing the case and the judges ruling on it. Jessica Vaughan, who authored of the CIS report, said the information could have been found quickly “if they or their clerks had looked for it.”

Recalling news reports of a terror attack that occurred only three months ago would not have even required legal research. A researcher would only have had to google “Somali terrorist,” but apparently no one did.

The revelations of numerous terror convictions that were never presented into evidence, even when a judge directly questioned a Justice Department attorney about them, raise new questions about the competence of the Trump Administration. Was the Administration aware of these terrorists when it crafted the temporary immigration ban? If so, why were they not presented to support the Administration’s policy until after it had lost in, not one, but two court appearances?

Spelling and grammar errors in government documents and releases make the Trump Administration look amateurish and inept. Failing to do such basic research before such a high profile case is even worse.

Originally published on The Resurgent

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