Trump’s Muslim ban will actually fuel radicalization, Homeland Security concludes

Radicalization only happens years after immigrants arrive — because of isolation and Islamophobia.

CREDIT: Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX
CREDIT: Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX

A Department of Homeland Security report, obtained exclusively by The Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday, further undercuts the claims President Trump has made that a Muslim ban is necessary to protect the country from “bad dudes.”

The new study, published Wednesday, found that because most violent extremists are only radicalized years after entering the United States, it’s unlikely that “extreme vetting” can actually screen out supposedly dangerous immigrants. According to the report, that’s because many of those eventually violent extremists enter when they’re younger than 16 (younger than the typical age at which radicalization begins) and then live in the U.S. more than ten years before experiencing indictment or death for their extremism. They’re also decidedly not radicalized by their own parents, who rarely are extremists themselves and who disavow their children’s actions.

In fact, the report actually suggests that government activity that might be perceived as Islamophobic actually fuels radicalization in both native-born and foreign-born violent extremists. The perception that the U.S. treats Muslims unjustly, combined with feelings of anger and isolation and having witnessed violence as a child, is more likely to contribute to radicalization. In other words, actions like an arbitrary ban on immigration from various Muslim countries might do more to increase domestic terror activities than they do to prevent such violence.

The new report jibes with a similar DHS report released last week that found that citizens from the seven countries in Trump’s first Muslim ban are “rarely implicated in U.S.-based terrorism” and that a person’s citizenship is an “unreliable indicator of terrorist threat to the United States.”


Also referenced in the new report is a separate DHS study that found that foreign-born violent extremists only began radicalizing some 13 years after entering the U.S.

Further undermining Trump’s claims about what will make the country safer, the report actually suggests that providing more support for refugees and asylees will actually help prevent radicalization. If people from other countries have more opportunities to connect with their new communities and be educated about violent extremist recruitment methods, they’ll be more resistant to radicalization. Unfortunately, fewer such integration and mentorship programs exist for immigrants not entering as refugees and asylees.

Trump’s claim all along has been that the country will be safer if the borders are closed. His insistence on “extreme vetting” and outright bans on travel from certain countries have been marketed around keeping supposedly dangerous people out.

While the first Muslim ban has been suspended by the court system, the Trump administration has floated the idea they will issue a revised (but very similar) executive order that they hope the courts will allow. That second order has now been delayed for a second week in a row, undermining Trump’s own claims that it is urgently needed. Reports this week suggested it was delayed a second time so as not to interfere with the good press the president received for his remarks to Congress Tuesday night.