Donald Trump

Trump and Border Crossing Terrorists—Wrong

Since 2001, all would-be terrorists were within our borders legally



When I was taking a taxi to the airport in Las Vegas after Freedomfest last month, the driver and I got to talking about Donald Trump who had blurted out a series of incoherent non-sequiturs at the conference. It turned out that the driver was fan of Trump, especially his promise to build a fence to keep out illegal immigrants. The driver was under the impression that immigrants committed a lot of crime, e.g., Trump's criminals and rapists flooding across the border. I tried gently to point out that the data do not support those claims.

Well, retorted the driver, we must close down the border in this "time of terror." Trump also apparently believes that Islamic terrorists are creeping across the Mexican border to blow up stuff and behead people. (See video below).

I didn't have the data to hand, but I tried to think of any post-9/11 attacks that had been launched by terrorists who had sneaked across our borders. Well, I have checked around a bit and it turns out that all of the attacks even vaguely motivated by Islamist ideology have been by citizens, green-card holders, student visa admittees, and so forth. (For more detail see this fairly comprehensive list of attacks compiled by the Heritage Foundation.) It is true that some attackers did overstay their visas, but all were legally admitted across our borders. In other words, building a wall across our border with Mexico would have done nothing to prevent any Islamic terrorist attacks.

Keep that mind when you listen to the border security bloviations during the Republican presidential candidates debate tonight.

NEXT: Watch Katherine Mangu-Ward Get Heckled About "Industrial Food" on Vice News

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  1. If you are on Facebook, check out Berke Breathed's new Bloom County strip. It's about Trump.

    1. A lot of them have been on Trump. He hasn't seem to have lost a step at all. I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the strips.

      1. +1 giant purple Snorklewhacker

    2. There are new Bloom County strips and nobody told me?!?!?!?!

  2. Oh, look; another story disagreeing with Trump's notion of border control.

    1. Reality itself is at odds with his notion of border control, it would seem.

  3. So what? Is it reason's position we should do nothing to control the borders? And I am not sure how them overstaying their VISAs makes their being here any more legal.

    1. Overstaying the visas Americans won't overstay.

      1. And waging the jihad Americans won't wage.

    2. So do you think VISA terms should be extended or that people should be issued green cards immediately after their VISAs expire?

      1. No. And policing up and deporting people who have overstayed their VISAs is a part of any sensible border security effort. The only point Ron makes is that we would be better served spending more efforts on that than we would be policing the physical border. And that may be true if terrorism is your only concern.

    3. of course, that's Reason's position. That has always been Reason's position. I'm sure Bo will be around any minute to confirm that, too.

    4. John has no problem with lying as long as the end goal is one he approves of.

  4. The driver was under the impression that immigrants committed a lot of crime...

    The first act in this country of an illegal immigrant to this country is to commit a crime. But since we've criminalized every little thing here in the United States, we need to come up with a better litmus test of whether someone is a detriment to society than criminal behavior.

    1. violating imigration regulations is NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE

    2. More to the point, if the biggest complaint you can come up with about an immigrant's presence here is "the law says they shouldn't be here", the obvious solution is to repeal the law. Problem solved. Laws are not an end in themselves, after all.

      Illegal immigration drives down wages for working-class Americans. That fact is sufficient reason to be in favor of trying to curtail it. Peddling a bunch of silly-assed fantasies about rape and terrorism, Trump-style, just makes illegal immigration seem like a problem that only crazy people and racists care about. It harms opposition to illegal immigration the same way the "Black Lives Matter, Don't You Dare Say All Lives Matter" movement harms the case of police reform.

      1. Illegal immigration drives down wages for working-class Americans. That fact is sufficient reason to be in favor of trying to curtail it.

        No it doesn't and no it isn't. THERE IS NO DATA SUPPORTING YOUR CLAIMS.

  5. Just because not every illegal immigrant is a dangerous criminal doesn't mean that some of them are not or that keeping out the ones who are isn't a worthwhile endeavor. So most illegal immigrants are not violent criminals. I am not seeing how that means we shouldn't deport the ones who are and endeavor to secure the border to keep them out.

    1. So you're arguing that it should be easier to enter the country and stay here after passing a rudimentary background check? And that the only people worth deporting are non-citizens convicted of crimes?

      1. No you are. Whether we should deport the illegal aliens who are not violent criminals is a completely separate issue from whether we should deport the ones who are.

        And that the only people worth deporting are non-citizens convicted of crimes?

        Depends on what you think of as being "worth deporting" but whatever your definition it likely includes them.

        1. You would think so, wouldn't you? I mean "let's send the non-residents who commit crimes back to their home countries" would be a pretty noncontroversial proposal. Except that the people who say it are usually doing so in the context of putting those criminals on the same bus as the people whose only "crime" is failing to jump through the retarded hoops required to emigrate legally. They don't just want to deport criminals and terrorists, they want to deport everyone who wasn't born in America. Which is why, when pressed, they almost always fall back on some variation of What part of <blink"illegal"</blink don't you understand?

          1. So what? I don't see anything wrong with deporting those people either.

            1. You might if you were one of them.

              1. I'm sure I would. But again, so what? Since when does someone not liking it mean doing is wrong.

            2. What's your plan for identifying "those people"?

              This is why illegal immigration remains a problem -- so many of the solutions are worse. "Make someone prove he is allowed to be here", for example, translates to "nobody, native-born Americans included, can legally work without a bureaucrat's permission".

              I'd rather compete with an illiterate Mexican for a job than trust to the honesty and competence of the Lois Lerners of the world.

            3. That's because you're an immoral asshole John.

  6. its not just about islamic terrorist but then that wouldn't fit your world view of ignoring the damage that is being done by illegals crossing the border.

    1. There is no damage.

  7. One other thing its really to bad that all these pin heads have nothing to talk about but Trump it reminds me of the lefts obsession with Rush Limbaugh.
    And another thing the left keeps telling the right to denounce Trump which the idiots are doing but I don't hear anyone on the right telling the left to denounce Obama for comparing the GOP to Iranian hardliners. the GOP is not calling for the destruction of anything

    1. "I don't hear anyone on the right telling the left to denounce Obama for comparing the GOP to Iranian hardliners".

      Argument from ignorance fallacy.

  8. There are only two kinds of terrorist. Islamic Jihadist and my boss.

    1. And Nikki. Don't forget Nikki.

    2. You work for the federal government?

  9. So you're saying no cops are from Mexico?

  10. When it comes to political derp, "immigrant criminals" are the Republican version of "assault weapons".

    1. So they don't exist? Only nates limit crimes?

      1. The problem is vastly overblown, but Republicans are willing to go full police state to solve it. Same with the Democrats and mass shootings.

        1. So what if it is? Does that mean we should make no effort to the board illegal immigrants who are criminals? If we should, what's wrong with making light of the issue?

  11. And as of 9/10/2001, nobody had ever crashed hijacked airliners in skyscrapers, so everyone could be sure that that would never happen.

    All types of security are multi-faceted, folks. Having a secure border won't be perfect, and won't do everything, but those are stupid reasons not to attempt to have a secure border.

    1. 9/11 is the perfect tool for dismantling every liberty people once enjoyed. It's like a fucking Swiss Army Hammer.

    2. There is that. Mr. science Ron Bailey seems to not understand that the past is not always the perfect predictor of the future

    3. "And as of 9/10/2001, nobody had ever crashed hijacked airliners in skyscrapers, so everyone could be sure that that would never happen."

      Ah, we've reached the "just making shit up" stage of Trump defense.

      1. It's not "making shit up" to note that our Southern border is porous, and that there are terrorists outside the US who might well make use of it. It's just noting reality.

  12. I understand that Reason's writers don't get this, so I'm going to say it s-l-o-w-l-y;

    Every single illegal immigrant is a criminal. Every. One.

    Now, one can argue that the law they are breaking should not exist. Or that it should be modified. But the people arguing the pro-amnesty narrative seem to dismiss the idea that all illegal immigrants are criminals without discussing it, and the people who are worried about illegal immigration hear that and it pisses them off.

    The anti-amnesty bunch have their own blind spots, too. I'm not just slamming one side here. But the constant dismissal of "It is against the law to enter the United States without going through channels, therefore all illegal immigrants are criminals" presumes something that you need to argue. Make the point; the law in this case (as in so many) is an ass. Demonstrate that. Argue that there is a qualitative difference between being a scofflaw in Mexico and a scofflaw in the U.S.. Show that the people who are here illegally are no more inclined to acts of violence and theft than other groups on the same economic level (if you can). But don't just skip over the step of showing that something undeniably true is irrelevant.

    That's a Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive trick, and it's REALLY annoying. Reason should be ashamed.

    1. Nobody is going to read your umpteen-millionth refrain of WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND without the blink tags.

      1. Look, all I'm saying is that when you, or anyone, says something on the order of "Not all illegal immigrants are criminals" a large part of the population that you need to convince stops listening to you.

        Sure, if all you want to do is blovate about what an idiot Trump is, and how the world would be some much better of you were Emperor, go ahead. But there are those of us who actually want to see some political issues dealt with.

        I don't want to close the border and throw out all the illegals. For one thing, I can imagine no better opportunity for Government overreach, corruption, and graft. I DO want to see the laws changed. I happen to think that one of the fastest ways to do that would be to actually start enforcing them as written (which I doubt like hell the people who wrote them ever expected). That will put a lot of pressure on the people who are benefiting the most from the present arrangement.

        And I believe that dismissing the bigots who are scared of anything hispanic-looking, on the ground stat they are too stupid to understand your "nuanced" POV, which holds that sine the immigration law the illegals are breaking is wrong, they are not criminals for breaking it, is a tactical mistake. One that YOU won't pay for. But the illegals will.

        1. when you, or anyone, says something on the order of "all illegal immigrants are criminals" a large part of the population that you need to convince stops listening to you."


    2. Every single American is a criminal. Every. One.

    3. My understanding is that overstaying your visa or otherwise being in the country without authorization is, in itself, not a crime, but a civil offense.

      1. Its a "civil" offense that you can be arrested, jailed, and deported for.

        In my book, anything that you can be arrested and jailed for is a criminal offense.

    4. What this country needs is more harassment of people for minor crimes. Also, liberty demands it.

  13. So our hundred-miles-inside-the-border constitution-free zone and the functionaries in it are so useless that terrorists don't even need to sneak in.

    1. Pretty much this.

      Any terrorist organization that matters can easily get somebody in under a visa of some kind. Tourist visa under a false name, if nothing else.

      Reason is right that terrorists aren't sneaking in over the Mexican border. Why put up with that if you have the backing of an organization with millions of dollars and an extensive criminal network already? That kind of organization can get you in on a nice comfy plane and all the paperwork.

      Terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11 have all(?) been by legal residents.

      The 9/11 highjackers famously all entered the country legally. Some of them overstayed their visas.

      Of all the reasons to put gun towers and walls on the Mexican border, well, this ain't one. Better enforcement of overstayed visas might help.

  14. I really think this jackass just likes to hear himself talk.

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