A Fox News report parroted a misleading, anti-immigrant claim from a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) study on international terrorism and foreign-born individuals. According to the DHS’s press release, 73 percent of people charged with international terrorism-related crimes between September 2001 and December 2016 were foreign-born. Fox News’ report reiterated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s claim that this study indicated a need for a stricter vetting and screening process for immigrants and legal residents in the U.S.
However, the DHS’s press release was a misleading anti-immigrant smear. As explained by MSNBC security analyst Matthew Miller, the DHS study included people who “committed terrorist acts overseas, were arrested overseas and brought here to face trial.” The report, which focused on international terrorism, also excluded individuals convicted of domestic terrorism from its data, such as white supremacist Dylan Roof, who murdered nine people in Charleston, and Robert Lewis Dear who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.
From the January 16 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:
SANDRA SMITH (HOST): Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen providing testimony this morning in front of the Senate judiciary committee and right now she's talking about a new DHS report, a new DHS study. It found U.S. federal courts convicted at least 549 people with international terrorism-related charges dating back to September 2001 through December 31, 2016. What they found was that 73 percent of them were foreign born and 148 of those convicted had become naturalized U.S. citizens. She has been quoted recently as saying to continue to enhance our screening and vetting, we must also continually vet some legal residents. So she’s going over that new DHS study right now.