How many fatal terror attacks have refugees carried out in the US? None

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President Donald Trump first introduced the idea of a Muslim travel ban in December 2015, shortly after Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.

But President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning all refugees and suspending travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries would not have applied to either Farook or Malik.

Nor would the travel ban have affected the perpetrators of any of the major Islamic terrorist attacks on American soil in recent years.

No person accepted to the United States as a refugee, Syrian or otherwise, has been implicated in a major fatal terrorist attack since the Refugee Act of 1980 set up systematic procedures for accepting refugees into the United States, according to an analysis of terrorism immigration risks by the Cato Institute.

Before 1980, three refugees had successfully carried out terrorist attacks; all three were Cuban refugees, and a total of three people were killed.

Since the Cato Institute analysis was published in September 2016, a Somalian refugee injured 13 people at Ohio State University in November in what officials investigated as a terrorist attack. No one died.

In fact, the primary perpetrators of the major terror attacks have mostly been US-born citizens or permanent legal residents originally from countries not included in the ban.

Here’s a look at the origin stories of the terrorists who committed major attacks in the name of radical Islam in recent years, including those in San Bernardino, Orlando, Boston and New York.

San Bernardino attacks

Although San Bernardino inspired Trump’s travel ban, neither of the shooters would have been affected by it.

Farook, 28, was an American citizen born in Chicago. Malik, 29, was born and raised in Pakistan, and later lived in Saudi Arabia. She arrived in the United States on a K-1 fiancée visa and later became a permanent resident.

Trump’s executive order bans travel from seven countries — Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Iran — but it does not ban travel from residents of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. In addition, the K-1 fiancee program remains in place.

New York and New Jersey explosions

Ahmad Khan Rahimi faces an array of bombing, weapons and attempted murder charges in two on September 17, 2016, incidents. He is accused of detonating bombs in New Jersey and in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The explosion in Chelsea injured 29 people.

Rahimi was born in Afghanistan and first came to the United States in 1995, following several years after his father arrived seeking asylum. Rahimi became a naturalized US citizen in 2011. He had recently spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.

Neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan is on Trump’s list of banned countries.

Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting

Omar Mateen, the man who shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, was an American citizen living in Fort Pierce, Florida. He was born in New York, and his parents were from Afghanistan.

His widow, Noor Salman, was arrested earlier this month on charges of obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting her husband’s material support to ISIS. She grew up in Rodeo, California, and her parents immigrated to the United States from the West Bank in 1985, according to The New York Times.

Neither Afghanistan nor the West Bank is included on the list of banned countries.

Boston Marathon bombings

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, were born in Kyrgyzstan to parents originally from war-torn Chechnya.

The Tsarnaev family arrived in the United States when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was 8 years old, and they applied for and were granted political asylum. The process for applying for political asylum is different from the process of arriving as a refugee.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother, became a naturalized citizen in September 2012.

Chechnya and Kyrgyzstan are not included on the list of banned countries.

World Trade Center, September 11, 2001

Of the 19 people who hijacked four planes on September 11, 2001, 15 of them hailed from Saudi Arabia. Two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one was from Lebanon.

None of those countries is included on the list of banned countries.


  • Opinion8d

    Remember the Liberal’s outrage when Obama imposed a 6 month travel ban on people from Iraq? How many attacks have been thwarted??? Furthermore, every country on the list is in shambles – please tell me how you properly vet someone when there are very few records available??? Check out this story from ABC and see how you feel about refugees…..

  • Shut it down.

    The only thing I disagree with on the travel ban is the countries on the list… there should be more of them. Close the border in its entirety, take the sign down off the Statue of Liberty. Put up a new sign that says closed. We as a Country have been taken advantage of far too long. We are a melting pot, refugees are supposed to come in and merge to the American way of life. Instead, they come in and try to make it their homeland.. the one they fear, possibly even hate enough to leave for a place they think is better. We through open our doors and accept them all and they still hate us for it. So close the doors, lock the windows, make them stay where they are. We don’t need their hate here, we have enough ignorant people spreading hate as it is.

  • Phil

    How come back in 2011 when Obama banned Iraqi refugees for six months, the news media and far left said nothing? Where was the outrage and protests?

  • lovin2017sofar

    All it takes is that 1st time. Better safe then sorry. There is nothing wrong with vetting and waiting. All those who are against the vetting and waiting, please open up your homes, your cottages up north, your time shares and let the unvetted stay there. Open your wallets and feed them, clothe them, find them jobs. I wonder how our vets who fought for these countries only to be spit on, shot at etc will feel about it? You know the broken down VA, the homeless vets, the vets who cannot find work.

  • AL Rivera

    i dont care if it was political asylum or refugee . call it what ever you want. the boston bombers still weren’t from here ; came here and mass killed. thats the point you SHOULD be highlighting.

  • i'llbu

    WOW so lets just bring them here yeah so when there is no one left over in the middle east they can come over here and chop off their heads !!!!! DOH …. LOL

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