On the heels of last week’s bombings in New York and New Jersey, anti-refugee sentiment was once again pushed to the forefront of the news cycle. It’s an understandable reaction, but not necessarily one rooted in fact. In a white paper released on September 13th from the Cato Institute, some pretty staggering data was revealed:
“The chance of being murdered on U.S. soil by any terrorist, native or foreigner, was one in 3.2 million a year.”
“The chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, committed by a foreigner after 9/11 was one in 177.1 million a year.
“For every successful foreign-born terrorist who actually killed somebody on U.S. soil in an attack, over 28 million foreigners entered the United States.”
Considering the sheer geographical size and population of our country, these figures are actually pretty impressive when you think about it. Yes, terrorism is a threat and we must remain vigilant – but the data doesn’t even come close to justifying a moratorium on the admittance of refugees or immigrants. As stated in the above bullet point, for every single foreign terrorist who actually carries out a successful attack, 28 million people are admitted to the U.S.
Twenty eight million.
In the same breath, conservatives often herald statistics like these on a different political issue: Gun control. The oft-cited figure is that 99.997% of firearms are used lawfully. They argue that it would be misguided for government to take overbroad action which ultimately would hurt law abiding individuals the most.
They would be correct, but this logic does not apply exclusively to firearms.
The chance of falling victim to a ‘conventional’ homicide is 252.9 times greater than that of dying in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil perpetrated by a foreigner. The chance of being killed by a refugee in a terrorist attack is 1 in 3,638,587,094. What about an illegal immigrant turned terrorist? Those figures are 1 in 10,915,761,281. Similarly, the chance of perishing at the hands of someone who has been granted asylum is 1 in 2,728,940,320.
I think we can live with these odds.
Anthony DeFazio is the President of American Individualists, and serves on the Communications team of the Loudoun County Republican Committee. Follow him on Twitter: @anthonyjdefazio; and on Facebook: fb.com/anthonydefaziopage.