Barletta: Seven Nations in Exec. Order Account for One Quarter of Terror Arrests

Feb 7, 2017
Press Release
Pushes Back on False Claim that Seven Countries in Travel Restriction Have No Record of Threats

Rep. Barletta speaks with Gen. John Kelly (Ret.), the new Secretary of Homeland Security, prior to a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee. 

Click here or on image for video of Rep. Barletta’s Q&A with Gen. Kelly.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today pushed back on the false claim that no one from any of the seven nations targeted by an executive order from President Trump has ever been arrested for terrorist-related activities.  In January, President Trump issued an executive order which suspends the entire refugee program, but also suspends travel specifically for non-green card holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  Some critics of the travel restrictions argue that citizens from those countries have never been arrested for terrorism-related crimes while in the United States.  Barletta produced a study (found here) from a professor at the University of North Carolina that found that those seven nations account for 23 percent of terror-related arrests in the U.S. since September 11, 2001.

“I have here a study by a professor from the University of North Carolina, which finds that in all the arrests made for terror-related activities in the United States since 9/11, almost a quarter of them have direct family ties to those seven countries,” Barletta said, while asking a question of new Homeland Security Secretary, Gen. John Kelly (Ret.).  “In your opinion, are the critics correct?  Have there been no problems at all with people from these seven countries?”

During his questioning of Gen. Kelly, Barletta noted that the federal judge who temporarily blocked the executive order made the same claim: that no one from those seven nations had ever been arrested on terrorism-related charges.  The judge’s ruling is currently under appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I can’t help but note that, at least in one instance, he is right,” Barletta said.  “The young man who stabbed a number of people at Ohio State this past November was in the United States through the refugee program.  He came here from Somalia, one of the seven countries we’re talking about.  But in this one case, the judge was right.  He was not arrested, because he was killed at the scene by police.”

Gen. Kelly replied that he is tasked with keeping the country safe from threats, and that he does not have the luxury of having theoretical discussions.

“Hope is not a course of action for people like me, and police officers and sheriffs and members of the CBP, people like that,” said Gen. Kelly.  “We can never rely on, ‘Gee, I hope nothing bad happens.’  I have nothing but respect for judges.  But in their world, it’s a very academic, almost in a vacuum discussion.  And, of course, in their courtrooms they’re protected by people like me.  So they can have those discussions, and if something happens bad from letting people in, they don’t come to the judge to ask him about his ruling, they come to people like me.”

Barletta has been a supporter of President Trump’s executive order, which suspended the entire refugee program for 120 days, while also barring the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely.  Additionally, the order barred the admission of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days.  In the meantime, the president ordered a review of the screening, or vetting, process until it can be determined that refugee applicants are indeed the individuals they claim to be.  The Department of Homeland Security has stated that the order will not impact Legal Permanent Residents, or holders of green cards.