Judge Who Halted Trump's Travel Ban Wrong to Say No Arrests in U.S. From 7 Countries Involved

Donald Trump
February 8, 2017

After President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a 90-day travel ban on the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, a federal judge blocked it, arguing there have been no terrorist-related arrests in the United States since September 11, 2001 of individuals from the countries targeted.

The judge's claim was incorrect, however, according to a fact check conducted by the Associated Press this week.

Judge James Robart, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state, said in court Friday that no foreign nationals from the seven countries targeted by Trump's travel ban–Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen–have been arrested in the U.S. for terrorist activity.

Robart asked Justice Department attorney Michelle Bennett to tell him how many such arrests have been made. When the government lawyer did not have an answer, Robart said the number is zero.

"Let me tell, you, the answer to that is none, as best I can tell," he said. "You're here arguing on behalf of someone that says we have to protect the United States from these individuals coming from these countries and there's no support for that."

That statement is wrong, though.

An Iraqi refugee living in Texas pleaded guilty in October to attempting to provide support to the Islamic State terrorist organization. He was accused of "taking tactical training and wanting to blow himself up in an act of martyrdom," according to the AP.

Just a month later, a Somali refugee attacked a crowd on the Ohio State University campus using a car and knife. He injured 11 people, first by ramming his car into a group of people before attacking them with a butcher knife. He was killed by a police officer at the scene.

Back in 2011, two men from Iraq were arrested in Kentucky and convicted on charges that they plotted to send money and weapons to al Qaeda. There is no evidence that they were planning attacks themselves, though.

Judge Robart was correct in his "larger point," the AP reported, that the biggest attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11 were carried out by people from countries other than the seven named in Trump's travel ban, or American citizens who were radicalized by jihadist groups.

But on the number of arrests, Robart's claim was incorrect.