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Report: Most Violent US Extremists Radicalized After Entry

  • VOA News

FILE - A Customs and Border Protection officer checks the passport of a non-resident visitor to the United States inside immigration control at McCarran International Airport, Dec. 13, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada. A new U.S. government report has found that most extremists linked to terror-related activity in the U.S. became radicalized years after entering the country.

A report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows that most U.S.-based extremists of foreign origin did not become radicalized until they got to the U.S. and had been in the country for “several years.”

DHS examined the immigration history of 88 foreign-born extremists linked to terrorism-related activity between March 2011 and December 2016, and found that the majority of them had lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years before they were indicted or killed, according to the document, originally obtained by MSNBC, and later verified by the DHS.

Nearly half of the 88 foreign-born extremists were under the age of 16 when they arrived in the U.S., the document said.

“We assess that most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns,” the report said.

The document, titled “Most foreign-born U.S.-based violent extremists radicalized after entering Homeland; opportunities for tailored CVE [countering violent extremism] programs exist,” is dated March 1, 2017.

Revised Trump travel ban

The document comes just as the President Donald Trump is expected to issue a new executive order banning travel from terrorist-prone countries and restricting refugees.

The first order, issued last month, blocked the settlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. and temporarily banned visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries the federal government has designated as posing a heightened risk of terrorism.

That order has been stayed by the courts.

Trump has said the restrictions are needed to stop potential terrorists from entering the U.S., though the new DHS report may raise some questions about their efficacy.

The DHS document showed “similar radicalization factors” between native- and foreign-born violent extremists after reviewing 116 cases of native citizens arrested or killed during the same time period, between March 2011 and December 2016.

Both native and foreign-born extremists had similar “experiences and grievances” leading to their radicalization, which included “perceived injustices against Muslims in the homeland and abroad because of U.S. policies, feelings of anger and isolation, and witnessing violence as a child," the document said.

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