The Justice Department has acknowledged errors and deficiencies in a controversial report issued a year ago that implied a link between terrorism in the United States and immigration, but — for the second and final time — officials have declined to retract or correct the document.
Released by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the report stated that 402 of 549 individuals — nearly 3 in 4 — convicted of international terrorism charges since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were foreign-born.
The report was written in compliance with President Trump’s March 2017 executive order halting immigration from six majority-Muslim countries.
Critics immediately expressed alarm at what they considered highly misleading data presented without context. They called it an attempt to misuse law enforcement agencies to advance a political agenda in opposition to immigration, and former senior counterterrorism officials warned it could play into terrorists’ hands by fueling misperceptions about radicalization and stoking societal divides.
One flaw the Justice Department acknowledged was the report’s assertion that between 2003 and 2009, immigrants were convicted of 69,929 sex offenses, which “in most instances constitutes gender-based violence against women.”
But, [Michael H.] Allen [deputy assistant attorney general for policy, management and planning] said in his letter, “the alleged misrepresented data constitute mere editorial errors which the [law] does not obligate the agencies to withdraw or correct.”
Still, he added, “the department appreciates being made aware of such errors so they will not be repeated.”
Berwick said the errors were “not merely editorial.” The nearly 70,000 offenses spanned a period from 1955 to 2010 — 55 years, not six; the data covered arrests, not convictions; and one arrest could be for multiple offenses, he said, citing the Government Accountability Office, which provided the underlying data. [Continue reading…]