In President Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night, he claimed that, “[a]ccording to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” The following day, the Justice Department elaborated to the Washington Post that it had obtained convictions “against over 500 defendants for terrorism or terrorism-related charges in federal courts” and a “review of that information revealed that a substantial majority of those convicted were born in foreign countries.”This is yet another reminder of why its so important to be cautious about unsubstantiated official claims and about the attempts of Trump and his xenophobic supporters to generate fear and hatred by distorted and/or dishonest claims about "criminal aliens."
The Justice Department did not provide the raw data to support its assertion, but if that data derives from the source it appears to come from – a Justice Department National Security Division (NSD) list of terrorism and terrorism-related convictions – the claim is highly misleading. That’s because the NSD list is designed in ways that seriously undercut its ability to shed light on the scope or source of the terrorist threat.
She gets into the weeds of this claim. And who should turn up there but now-Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama? We have reason to suspect AG Sessions may not be above processing evidence with highly political motives in mind. (Jon Swaine and Oliver Laughland, 'Gun for hire': how Jeff Sessions used his prosecuting power to target Democrats The Guardian 03/04/2017)
For analysis of the "criminal aliens" hate propaganda technique - and that's what it is - see:
- Digby Parton, Trump’s “Office of Immigrant Crime” has sinister implications — and dark echoes of history Salon 03/02/2017
- Peter Beinart, Trump Scapegoats Unauthorized Immigrants for Crime The Atlantic 03/01/2017
Meanwhile, here in the real world of Deportation Nation (Jenny Jarvie, Attorneys for Mississippi 'Dreamer' say they're racing to prevent her deportation Los Angeles Times 03/03/2017):
Attorneys for Daniela Vargas, a young “Dreamer” who was detained by immigration agents in Mississippi after speaking to the media about her family’s plight, say they are racing against the clock to prevent her from being deported without a court hearing.And there's this, Children Sob As Father Arrested By ICE The Young Turks 03/03/2017:
While an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman continues to maintain that Vargas will appear before an immigration judge, Vargas’ attorney, Abigail Peterson, said ICE officials informed her Thursday that Vargas would be processed as a “visa waiver overstay” and is likely to be flown back to Argentina without a court hearing or bond.