That travel-ban lifting judge said what?
The judge who issued a stay on President Trump’s executive order temporarily barring entry to the U.S. by those from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia erroneously claimed in his courtroom that no person from those countries have been arrested in the U.S. since 9/11.
In a courtroom exchange Friday with Department of Justice lawyer Michelle Bennett, federal Judge James L. Robart, asked, “How many arrests have there been of foreign nationals from those seven countries since 9/11”?
“I don’t know the specific details of attacks or planned attacks,” said Bennett, who is from the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.
“The answer to that is none, as best I can tell,” said the judge.
While Robart was clearly wrong – travelers and immigrants from the seven countries have indeed been involved in the murders of Americans and other heinous crimes – a better answer would have been: No one knows just how many have been arrested because no one has been counting mere arrests.
Here is a partial list of some of the more well-known cases involving persons who traveled from countries on the watchlist:
In October 2009, police arrested an Iraqi Muslim immigrant for running over his 20-year-old daughter to punish her for becoming “too westernized.” His daughter, died of her injuries. The father was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
In November 2009, Nidal Hassan fatally shot fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others at Fort Hood in Texas. While the Army major was an American, he received counseling and encouragement from Yemen-based imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who traveled frequently to the U.S. and was later killed in a drone attack ordered by Barack Obama in Yemen.
In 2011, Rahim Alfetlawi, 47, an Iraqi native living in Minneapolis, shot his step-daughter fatally in the head because she moved away and was becoming to westernized. He was sentenced to life in prison.
On Sept. 17, 2016, Dahir Ahmed Adan, born in Somalia, entered a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, dressed as a security guard and began stabbing individuals before an off-duty copy shot and killed him. According to police, Adan asked at least one person if they were a Muslim before attacking them and made statements regarding Allah during the attack. Ten were injured in the stabbing spree, but thankfully none were killed or suffered grave injuries.
In November 2016, Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan attacked 11 Americans with a knife and then a car on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus before a campus police officer shot and killed him.
But terrorism experts are scratching their heads trying to figure out the judge’s point.
The Trump administration chose the seven countries for the watch list because they were designated as essentially lawless nations by the Obama administration – those from which terrorists are known to be traveling to evade identification.
Trump’s executive order made this clear: “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee-resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.”
In addition, if you look at the volume of major terrorist attacks and gruesome crimes in the U.S. committed by Muslims from other countries besides the seven, there will indeed be many, many more. Does that suggest the judge wants to see a broader watch list than Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia?
Others who used these destinations to wreak havoc on Europe over the last two years, where hundreds have been killed in bombings, truck attacks, shootings and stabbings following the continent’s opening to “Syrian refugees,” are, in fact, mostly unknown young men from Muslim countries the world over.
On Saturday, Trump said on Twitter: “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?” He added that “very bad and dangerous” people may now come into the U.S. because of the judge’s “terrible” ruling.
Earlier, Trump called the judge who issued the temporary restraining order a “so-called judge” and vowed that the order would be “overturned!”
The halt late Friday was issued by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who is an appointee of George W. Bush. He said that Washington state and Minnesota had standing to challenge Trump’s executive order on immigration. So he issued the temporary, nationwide restraining order based on his opinion that the states showed their case is likely to succeed.
Ed Straker, an attorney wo attended law school with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, says Judge Robart “has clearly usurped his authority.”
“The case clearly has no plaintiffs with standing or any kind of validity,” he wrote in American Thinker. “At most, Judge Robart should have stayed his decision pending appeal to circuit courts. His radical injunction smacks of a judicial coup, of a single federal district judge asserting his authority over the entire executive branch. His arguments for doing so are unconstitutional, as is his manner of issuing the order. We are living in a time when judicial ayatollahs are usurping the power of our elected officials, and it is very much like a judicial coup.”
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