The following is from a Washington Post Fact Checker email from Michelle Ye Hee Lee dated February 3, 2017:
President Trump’s immigration executive order, by the (non-alternative) facts.
A week ago today, President Trump signed an immigration executive order heard around the world. Amid the confusion over the order’s application and legality were many dubious facts, so we set the record straight on several aspects of the order.
Did Trump’s travel ban only affect a “universe of 109 people”?
No. Trump and the White House played down the travel ban’s impact, saying 109 of 325,000 people were stopped because of it. Under the order, visa holders from seven mostly-Muslim countries can’t travel to the United States for at least 90 days. But 109 is actually the number of people who were flying at the time the order was signed, not the full universe of people affected by the travel ban.
In reality, about 90,000 visas are affected. That’s how many people who received either nonimmigrant or immigrant visas in fiscal 2015 from the seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen) listed in Trump’s executive order. We awarded Four Pinocchios.
Is Trump’s policy “similar to what President Obama did in 2011″?
Not really. Obama didn’t announce a ban on visa applications. There were reported delays in processing Iraqi refugee background checks after a 2011 case involving two Iraqi refugees in Bowling Green, Ky. Federal officials had found that the two men had attempted to help terrorist activities against U.S. soldiers in Iraq. (This is what White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway later called the “Bowling Green massacre,” which, of course, didn’t happen. She later called it an “honest mistake.”)
There were new screening procedures, but there wasn’t a policy that prevented all citizens from a country, like Trump’s executive order. We awarded Three Pinocchios.
Are foreign-born people more likely to attack the U.S. homeland?
The order says “numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since Sept. 11, 2001.” Of about 400 individuals charged with or credibly involved in jihad-inspired activity in the U.S. since 9/11, just under half (197) were U.S.-born citizens, according to research by the nonpartisan think tank New America Foundation. Another 82 were naturalized citizens and 44 were permanent residents.
Homegrown terrorism is a growing concern, especially among American citizens who are radicalized online. In fact, it was American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki who has had the most widespread influence on radicalization, even more than five years after his death. We explored this question and some others in our Q&A about the executive order.