If you make an attempt to untangle the knot of campaign themes that propelled Donald Trump to victory in the 2016 election, one of the biggest threads you’ll find is a fear of Muslims coming into the country.

In another of a series of executive orders fulfilling his campaign promises, a leaked draft from the Trump administration bans immigration and visas from seven Muslim majority countries; Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen.

The ban is problematic in that it represents another attempt at instituting a de facto religious test to enter the country, but it has many more flaws than just that one.

The ban misses all of the countries the 9/11 hijackers came from


The biggest and most damaging terrorist attack in the United States was undoubtedly 9/11. All of the hijackers were in the US legally, and none of them were here as refugees. None of them came from countries included in the expected ban.

The 9/11 hijackers came from UAE, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. They were here on student and tourist visas, for the most part. If the ban intended to stop attacks, shouldn’t it have addressed any of these countries?

In fact, successful terrorist attacks on US soil attributable to the people from a country is a much worse predictor for inclusion on the list than US bombing campaigns.

Most of the people who have attacked the US since 9/11 were citizens

Source: New York Times

The picture above comes from a great interactive produced by the New York Times. Despite what the President says, there is a lot of good information to be found there. Most of the attacks happening in the United States since 2001 have been committed by people who were actually citizens, half of whom were born in the US, and all of the attackers were here legally.

The one person in the graphic that doesn’t need a visa is Richard Reid, the shoe bomber from the UK. The point is, we have an extremism problem not a refugee problem. The people who attack us are radicalized right here at home for the most part.

If conservatives can continuously say that mass shootings are a result of a mental health treatment problem in our country instead of a gun problem, how can they not see this?

Many say that we need to vet refugees, but the US has stringent vetting procedures

Again, the New York Times has offered a perfect breakdown of the refugee screening process. They’re really much better than Fox News or POTUS say they are. Here are the steps as they describe them in their interactive:

Just to start the process, a potential refugee has to enter UN screening and be determined to be a vulnerable person. 

Even if someone manages to pass  through the filter and become flagged as someone eligible for resettlement, they have still just begun the vetting process. The vast majority of refugees spend years in refugee camps before ever being resettled.

The process takes up to two years, and involves several rounds of interviews and investigations by the UN, US intelligence agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Before a refugee is ever anywhere near American soil multiple agencies have checked and verified their life stories, fingerprint checks, and criminal history. If a terrorist is trying to get into the country, refugee status is the longest, riskiest, most inefficient way they could possibly go about it.

It would be a fun exercise to examine how many natural born citizens could make it through the refugee vetting process.

If you don’t think we vet refugees well enough, you seriously owe it to yourself and Thomas Jefferson to read through that New York Times interactive.