Groups sue Trump administration over terrorism report
A civil rights organization and a watchdog group are suing the Trump administration for allegedly issuing a misleading report on terrorism the president ordered as part of his second travel ban.
In the 26-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Muslim Advocates and Democracy Forward Foundation allege the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Information Quality Act in reporting that three out of four individuals convicted of international terrorism and terrorism-related offenses between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2016, were foreign-born.
The law requires information disseminated to the public by federal agencies, including by DHS and DOJ, be of requisite quality, objectivity, utility and integrity.
But the groups argue the information in the report is biased, misleading and incomplete.
“The government’s own studies show that native born citizens commit significant numbers of terrorist attacks in the United States, and indeed are responsible for the overwhelming majority of terrorism fatalities since 2002,” the groups said in the complaint. “An April 2017 Government Accountability Office report concluded that ‘of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, far right wing violent extremist groups were responsible for 62 (73 percent) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27 percent).’ ”
But the groups said the report excludes all terrorism-related offenses that occurred in the United States that were planned and executed by individuals without international connections.
The groups argue that the DOJ’s terrorism report has been used to justify President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries and perpetuate the ongoing stigmatization of immigrants and Muslims by the administration.
“The Trump administration’s relentless persecution of immigrants, minorities, and American Muslims has taken many outlandish, unconstitutional, and unlawful forms over the past year and a half,” Johnathan Smith, Muslim Advocates’s legal director, said in a statement. “This so-called report is blatantly false, purposefully misleading, and it’s illegal. The government has an obligation to be truthful and transparent, and we plan to hold this administration to that standard.”
The groups noted that the Daily Beast reported that the DHS did not perform the analysis nor did DHS analysts contribute to the DOJ report.
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