The New York Times reports: President-elect Donald J. Trump’s remarkable appointments on Friday served notice that he not only intends to reverse eight years of liberal domestic policies but also overturn decades of bipartisan consensus on the United States’ proper role in world affairs.
Mr. Trump moved unapologetically to realize his campaign’s vision of a nation that relentlessly enforces immigration laws; views Muslims with deep suspicion; aggressively enforces drug laws; second-guesses post-World War II alliances; and sends suspected terrorists to Guantánamo Bay or C.I.A. prisons to be interrogated with methods that have been banned as torture.
At a time when American cities have been inflamed by racial tensions, police shootings and fears over homegrown terrorism, Mr. Trump made no conciliatory gestures toward Muslims, Mexicans and African-American neighborhoods, all of which he disparaged during his campaign.
The appointments so far — Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as attorney general, Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas as C.I.A. director and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as national security adviser — sent an unmistakable signal that he did not intend to use his personnel choices to build bridges to Democrats or moderate Republicans who opposed his campaign’s nationalist overtones. [Continue reading…]
Former CIA analyst, Patrick Eddington, writes: Sessions’ claims about the terrorism risk posed by immigrants are unhinged from reality.
In September 2016, my Cato colleague and immigration specialist Alex Nowrasteh published a comprehensive report analyzing this very question. His key findings:
Including those murdered in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), the chance of an American perishing in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil that was committed by a foreigner over the 41-year period studied here is 1 in 3.6 million per year. The hazard posed by foreigners who entered on different visa categories varies considerably. For instance, the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year while the chance of being murdered in an attack committed by an illegal immigrant is an astronomical 1 in 10.9 billion per year. By contrast, the chance of being murdered by a tourist on a B visa, the most common tourist visa, is 1 in 3.9 million per year…The annual chance of being murdered by somebody other than a foreign-born terrorist was 252.9 times greater than the chance of dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreign-born terrorist. (emphasis added)
Without question, if you lose a loved one or friend to a terrorist attack, it will seem like the greatest threat America faces. The reality is that you, a family member, or coworker are far more likely to be a victim of traditional crime than a victim of an ISIS-inspired plot.
Trump, Bannon, Sessions, Pompeo, former DIA Director (and Trump National Security Adviser designee) Mike Flynn, and Trump transition team adviser and long-time Islamophobe Frank Gaffney are poised to further derange our counterterrorism policy. By increasing the demonization and stigmatization of Arab or Muslim immigrants, they will legitimize the ISIS narrative that America is at war with Islam as a whole—giving public relations oxygen to Salafist-oriented terrorist organizations from Africa to Southeast Asia, facilitating their recruitment efforts globally. [Continue reading…]