Barletta: 9th Circuit Missed Real Threats from Seven Terror-Laden Failed States

Feb 10, 2017
Press Release
Contrary to Ruling, Real Threats Exist from Countries Targeted by Trump Executive Order

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today faulted the ruling of a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which declined to reinstate President Trump’s executive order suspending travel to the United States from seven specific failed states with strong connections to terrorism.  The court claimed that there was no evidence of actual terrorist attacks perpetrated by citizens of the seven countries, while completely ignoring recent history and ample instances of arrests for foiled plots or coordination with terrorist organizations.  The judges somehow overlooked last year’s Ohio State mass stabbing, as well as other specific cases and a broad pattern of terrorist activity that demonstrate clearly that the seven nations do indeed pose a real and credible threat to national security.

“Since the court decided that it has the authority to look at the reasons behind a presidential executive order, the least the judges could do is perform a simple Google search.  If they had, they would have found plenty of evidence that people from these failed states have been in this country and have been engaged in terror plots against Americans,” Barletta said.  “The fact that there have been so many terror plots disrupted means that we’re asking law enforcement to play goalie after the terrorists are already roaming free inside the United States.  Why would we purposefully place extra pressure on them by refusing to tighten controls on who can enter this country?”

In January, President Trump issued an executive order which suspended the entire refugee program, but also suspended travel specifically for non-green card holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  The 9th Circuit failed to lift a lower court’s temporary restraining order against the presidential action, in part by repeating the false claim that no one from any of the seven nations has ever represented a threat.

As he did during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on February 7, 2017, Barletta again pointed to a recent University of North Carolina study (link here), which found that since September 11, 2001, 23 percent of people arrested for terror-related crimes in the U.S. have direct ties to the seven nations covered by the executive order.  Barletta also highlighted several specific instances of terror-related activity by people connected to the seven countries.

“Nearly a quarter of the people arrested on terrorism charges are tied to the seven countries in question,” Barletta said.  “Put that together with specific, known instances of terrorist activity, and it is clear that the court reached the outcome it wanted despite facts readily at hand.”

In addition to the University of North Carolina study, Barletta noted the following cases:

  • In November 2016, Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove a car into a group of people and stabbed a number of others during a rampage at Ohio State University.
  • In January 2016, federal authorities made separate arrests in of two Palestinians who were born in Iraq and had entered the U.S. through the refugee program.  Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab was arrested in Sacramento, California and charged with making false statements to investigators regarding terrorism.  Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan was arrested in Houston, Texas and charged with attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization ISIS.
  • In 2011, Iraqi refugees Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were arrested on terror-related charges in Kentucky.  They were convicted in 2013 of attempting to move weapons and money from the U.S. to Iraq and trying to assist al Qaeda with assaults on American troops.

“Congress expressly gave the president wide authority to stop the flow of foreign nationals into this country if he deems it in the national interest,” Barletta said.  “In hearings before my House Homeland Security Committee, we have had numerous national security experts tell us that we simply cannot accurately screen refugees because we have no information from their home countries to verify their identities.  In many cases, we simply have no idea who we are admitting to the country.  I remain in full support of President Trump’s actions, which I believe are only prudent, while we work on a system that allows us to verify the identity and background of applicants.”