The Data & Logic Problem Behind President Trump's Immigration Ban

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A quick glance at the data shows that President Trump's executive order banning immigration from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan will not improve the safety of Americans, and may hurt is in other ways.


Last Friday, Donald Trump made good on his campaign rhetoric and signed an executive order blocking the entry of people from seven countries in the Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. In doing so, he promised to make America safe again. The implication is that the vetting process we have in place is in such shambles and so ineffective that an immediate, blanket ban is needed.

Curious, I took at look at the eleven worst terrorist attacked in the United States over the last twenty years.

1. September 11, 2001
Dead: 2,996
Origin of perpetrators: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Lebanon

2. Oklahoma City Bombing
Dead: 168
Origin of perpetrators: USA

3. Orlando Nightclub Shooting
Dead: 53
Origin of perpetrator: USA

4. Virginia Tech Shooting
Dead: 32
Origin of perpetrators: Korea

5. Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting
Dead: 27 (many children)
Origin of perpetrator: USA

6. San Bernadino Shooting
Dead: 16
Origin of perpetrators: USA and Pakistan

7. Columbine High School Shooting
Dead: 13
Origin of perpetrators: USA

8. Fort Hood Shooting
Dead: 13
Origin of perpetrators: USA

9. Aurora Movie theatre shooting
Dead: 12
Origin of perpetrators: USA and Pakistan

10. Charleston Church Terrorist Shooting
Dead: 9
Origin of perpetrators: USA

11. Boston Marathon bombing
Dead: 3
Original of perpetrators: Chechen

Eight of the worst attacks were perpetrated by American citizens, most wielding guns. None of the attackers came from countries covered by the executive order.

Trump's senior policy advisor Stephen Miller stated on Fox & Friends that:

"There’s been hundreds and hundreds of foreign nationals and foreign-born naturalized citizens who have been implicated in terrorism in the United States since 9/11. This is a matter of national security. It’s a matter of keeping the public safe. "

Maybe so, but how many threats came from these countries? While we've had profound disagreements with Iran, it's never been a source of terrorism in the United States. In fact, many Iranians critical of the regime travel to the United States as scientists, professors, and other professionals.

The data means one of two things, or a combination of both:

1) No attacks came from the countries covered in the executive order.

2) Contrary to what President Trump says, the current system has been highly effective at stopping attacks from those countries from which terrorists might emanate.

Security should always be tightened and improved. But one has to ask if the benefit of a insensitive, hastily organized, total ban of visitors from these seven countries outweighs the cost. And what is the cost? The view of America as a courageous, shining beacon of hope, the entry of smart, freedom-loving people into our country (Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant), the perception that Trump and his advisors don't have a clue about how to implement a program.

It all raises one other issue. If Trump is really, really concerned about the safety of US citizens, as he says, then maybe he should immediately sign an executive order tightening the sale of firearms. Look at the data. Americans should be afraid of other Americans with guns, not the penniless Syrian refugee who wants to escape from the carnage so her children can sleep without fear of being killed.

Submitted: January 30, 2017

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Add Your Comments:



One of Trump's selling points is that he was supposed to bring corporate know-how and efficiency to the Oval Office. The hasty, total botched roll-out of this temporary ban is amateur hour. If this had been a real corporation, heads would have been rolling. Even on the Apprentice, contestants would have heard the refrain: "You're Fired."

It's no wonder the guy has been bankrupt numerous times and won't show his taxes now.

Tue, January 31st, 2017 2:46pm


So true. Let's hope guy gets his act together.

Tue, January 31st, 2017 11:19am


Good blog. Do you believe that trump is doing for reasons of war? I do. Do you believe this is all for new world order agenda 21? That perhaps he is doing all of this to create war, to rebuild america?

Tue, January 31st, 2017 8:48pm



It's not clear why he is doing this. There are numerous conspiracy theories but I'm just going to remain vigilant and see where it goes.

Wed, February 1st, 2017 8:57am


The problem is that we don't know what intel the President has about these countries. I imagine there is something there which concerned him.

Wed, February 1st, 2017 5:55pm


Then he should let us know. Plus, some countries like Iran are definitely not credible. No Iranian terrorist has ever perpetrated a terror attack on the U.D.

Wed, February 1st, 2017 12:51pm

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