Bill de Blasio: Islamic terrorism is “vanishingly rare” [UPDATED]

Brendan Kirby of PoliZette reports that, in the wake of a radical Islamic terrorist attack on New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is telling citizens not to worry about the threat of jihadist violence and is pushing for even more questionably vetted migrants to be resettled in the United States. Writing in the New York Times, de Blasio and the mayors of London and Paris state:

[I]t is wrong to characterize immigrant and refugee communities as radical and dangerous; in our experience, militant violence is vanishingly rare. Therefore, we must continue to pursue an inclusive approach to resettlement in order to combat the growing tide of xenophobic language around the globe.

The last sentence seems like a non sequitur. “An inclusive approach to resettlement” isn’t required to combat “xenophobic language.” If anything, resettlement is likely to increase the use of such language.

But it’s the claim that “militant violence” by Islamists is “vaninshingly rare” that caught my attention. A year ago, I might have agreed that such violence is rare in the U.S. In light of recent developments, I wouldn’t say so now.

And clearly “militant violence isn’t “vanishingly rare.” Terrorism of the kind committed in Minnesota and New York/New Jersey this weekend is increasing, not vanishing. We need to reverse the trend.

And here’s the key point for that purpose: the “militant violence” we are experiencing — rare or not — derives overwhelmingly from Muslim immigrants or refugees and their children. Kirby writes:

Terrorism involving Muslim immigrants or refugees and their children account for almost every high-profile jihadist attack carried out in the United States in recent years and a majority of the convictions on terror-related charges. A report released in June by the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest indicates that 380 people convicted of terrorism-related charges from the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 to the end of 2014 were born abroad. That is 65 percent of the total number.

Kirby continues:

At least 100 citizens of convicted of terrorism-related charges became naturalized citizens after entering through one of America’s immigration programs. At least 24 of the convicts were refugees and 17 were the U.S.-born children of immigrants. At least 33 came on visas and remained after they expired.

This means there is an obvious way to reduce the amount of terrorism in the U.S. — restrict immigration from the countries where our domestic terrorists and/or their parents originate. Why does de Blasio oppose this?

He and the two other mayors object that in New York, nearly half of all small-business owners are immigrants who contribute to the tax base and expand job opportunities for other New Yorkers. And in, London the three million Londoners who were born abroad contribute to the city’s creativity, vitality and entrepreneurial spirit.

But restricting immigration from the countries producing terrorists doesn’t mean excluding creative and entrepreneurial immigrants. Such immigrants can be found all over the world; they need not be imported from nations infected by radical Islam.

There is a legitimate debate to be had about the extent, if any, to which we should restrict immigration from problem countries, especially ones like Syria that are experiencing mass calamity on scale almost unheard of in recent history. But de Blasio and his colleagues lose all credibility in the debate when they claim that terrorism stemming from the immigrant and refugee communities is “vanishingly rare.”

Acknowledge honestly the growing domestic terrorism problem we confront. Then we can talk.

UPDATE: Seth Barron reports that at some point between the overnight print run of the Times and midafternoon the following day, someone decided that the description “vanishingly rare” was untenable and appended this editor’s note to the piece:

An earlier version of this article included a phrase about the incidence of terrorism perpetuated by militant immigrants. Because of a miscommunication, the phrase, which was added by an editor, was published without final approval of the authors.

This implausible statement raises more questions than it answers. What newspaper editor would add, on his or her own, such a significant claim to a piece written by three mayors? For that matter, what editor would employ an odd locution like “vanishingly rare”? I wonder whether this is a translation from French.

What was the nature of the “miscommunication”? Did the authors approve the phrase initially but withhold “final approval”?

I can imagine the three mayors (or their writers) kicking around edits of their piece and the content changing accordingly. But to try to pin the outrageous “vanishingly rare” claim on an editor seems like too much.

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