Thursday, October 25, 2018


Do you think our president is mixing up water and gas?

He is finding all kinds of ways to mix up  immigration and terrorism - his goal seems to be to scare us into keeping immigrants out. History teaches us that fear of immigrants is a regular and regrettable occurrence.  

(Just How Much is Trump overstating the threat to scare us? Read at this link:’s-rhetoric/ar-BBPhoPf?ocid=spartandhp. Turns out that the U.S. Army believes Trump is 'way overstating the number of caravan migrants likely to reach the U.S. border. Typical fear mongering.  --Ed.) 

A few weeks ago our President banned travel from seven Muslim-majority nations to "[PROTECT] THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORISTS". The intent is certainly noble, but the idea is full of problems.

1) Muslim foreigners don’t cause much terrorism. 

After hearing over and over about the dangers of Islamic jJihadists coming to the U.S. from over seas, I took a look at the data myself. 

Click here for an interactive version including details on the incidents.

As you can see, foreign jihadis caused 21 deaths in the ten years between 2005 and 2015. In the same period, the average number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters by Americans was 15,587 per year.

While deaths caused by terrorism are tragic, they are a tiny percentage of bigger problems. Foreign jihadis cause less than 20% of the total.  (I calculate 20 / 155870 = less than 1% of the ten year total. Please double check your calculation.)

2) The immigrants today fear to become our peaceful, productive neighbors.

When the President tells us about the dangers of allowing Muslims to immigrate, you should hear the echoes of the past.

In the 1840s and 1850s, fear of Catholic immigration was so strong a political party called the Know Nothings came into existence on the platform of keeping them out. Churches were destroyed in riots. Priests were tarred and feathered.

In 1871 horrific terrorism was inflicted upon the Los Angeles Chinese community.
On May 4, 1886 German Anarchists were blamed for the Haymarket Bombing

In 1881, U.S. based Irish terrorists built a submarine to sink British ships coming to U.S. ports. (The Fenians were caught before the Fenian Ram could be put to use).

Such incidents weren’t limited to the 1800s, they were just slightly less dramatic. [Please rephrase to communicate the meaning. “they” refers to what? Incidents beyond the 1800s?]

In the 1920s, the U.S. and Japan agreed to limit Japanese Immigration. The immediate cause of the Agreement was anti-Japanese nativism in California.

And let’s not forget what happened to Japanese-Americans in 1942.

The opposite case is also true: The U.S. accepted large numbers of immigrants from countries suffering international terrorism on a huge scale in the 1980s and 1990s. The difference seems to be in those cases that the U.S. government was actually complicit in the terrorism.

Ask yourself this question: Why would we block the immigration of 40,000 Muslims if we allowed hundreds of thousands of Colombians in when their country was rife with terrorism?

This story has a happy ending: Catholics are our neighbors, we eat at German and Italian restaurants, and we visit Chinatown for dim sum. All of these cultures contribute to the diversity and success of the United States. Muslim culture have also done this and will continue to do so.

Immigration bans will end up on the wrong side of history. The big question now is how wrong, and how long? It appears we are about to find out.

The ban is misguided--seeking to solve a very rare problem in the United States, something that occurs far less often than murders. Remember: between 2005-2015 in the U.S. only 21 U.S. Citizens died at the hands of foreign Jihadi terrorists. In the same time there were over 155,000 Murders and non-negligent manslaughters as recorded by the FBI.

But far from merely being misguided, the ban falls on the wrong side of history. Once upon a time, Irish were considered such a threat that they inspired an entire political party - the Know Nothings.  [

The Irish are not alone. In 1882 Chinese were blocked from immigration amid concerns they were taking jobs.

The travel ban has other problems: The foreign terrorists who have killed recently are not from the countries on the ban.

The U.S. has a long history of immigrant fear, but we've managed to keep our borders open and develop a diverse society. History teaches us not to make the mistake


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