A new government report released today reveals that as many as 73 percent of individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts after Sept. 11, 2001 were foreign-born.
The joint Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report found that between Sept. 11, 2001 and December 31, 2016, 402 of the 549 individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges were foreign-born.
The report was required by Section 11 of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States and does not include those convicted of domestic terrorism charges or those convicted in state courts.
More specifically, of the 549 convicted terrorists:
- 254 were not U.S. citizens;
- 148 were foreign-born, naturalized and received U.S. citizenship; and,
- 147 were U.S. citizens by birth.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen cautioned lawmakers that the report “is likely the tip of the iceberg.”
Nielsen said the vast majority of potential terrorists were trying to enter the U.S. by air, but that the “nearly one thousand illegal immigrants coming across our border every day” posed on ongoing threat to both national security and public safety.
“Additionally, since last spring, we have seen a dangerous increase in border crossings by families and unaccompanied alien children. We must gain operational control of our borders. DHS needs Congressional support to deter illegal immigration and fully execute the President’s Executive Orders on immigration,” she said in her opening statement.
In 2017, DHS had 2,554 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list traveling to the United States. The report further pointed out that USDOJ might determine that cases involving foreign nationals with a nexus to terrorism may not be suitable for criminal prosecution, so removal or deportation “may be the most effective way” to protect national security interests.
Among the examples cited by DHS and DOJ were cases involving:
- Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, a national of Sudan, who was admitted to the United States in 2012 as a family member of a lawful permanent resident from Sudan and pleaded guilty four years later to attempting to provide material support to ISIS;
- Abdurasaul Hasanovich Juraboev, a national of Uzbekistan, who came via the diversity visa lottery recipient in 2011 pleaded guilty to conspiring to support ISIS; and
- Khaleel Ahmed, an Indian national who was admitted to in 1998 as a family member of a naturalized United States citizen from India. Ahmed became a U.S. citizen through naturalization and was convicted of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
The joint effort also provided additional information pertaining to gender-based violence committed by foreign nationals. On average, there are 23 to 27 honor killings in the United States every year, according to a study commissioned and provided by a 2014 DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics study.