Some Muslim immigrants should be watched 'long-term,' draft DHS report says

An initial draft of a Department of Homeland Security report from last month called for authorities to carefully monitor large numbers of Sunni Muslim immigrants fitting a broad "at-risk" profile, saying it might be necessary to “continuously evaluate persons of interest” even after they are living in the United States.

The document, obtained exclusively by Foreign Policy magazine, analyzed 25 terrorist attacks in the U.S. from 2001 to 2017 to determine which kind of immigrants should be tracked on a “long-term basis."

Risk factors identified in the report, which focused specifically on Sunni Muslims, included being young, male and hailing from countries in South Asia, the Middle East or Africa.

The draft report, which was created for U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan, caused consternation among current and former DHS officials, Foreign Policy reported.

Some told the magazine the results were misleading in part because the report focused only on Sunnis, rather than other religious groups.

“First, this report would steer policymakers to implement unfair and discriminatory surveillance of particular ethnic groups,” a DHS official told the magazine. “Second, the analysis, which is misleadingly packaged as a comprehensive analysis of post-9/11 terrorism, could lead policymakers to overlook significant national security threats.”

"This report would steer policymakers to implement unfair and discriminatory surveillance of particular ethnic groups."

— DHS official

In a strongly worded statement, CBP officials emphasized that the document was an initial draft and not a final intelligence assessment.

“The initial draft assessment … not only is still undergoing internal CBP review, but, at the time of its improper disclosure, did not reflect a large number of substantive comments and revisions that have since been made to subsequent versions of the document as a result of CBP’s internal and external review process,” a CBP spokesperson told Foreign Policy.

Last month, the DHS and DOJ released a report that revealed nearly three out of four individuals convicted on international terrorism charges in the U.S. were foreign-born.

President Trump reacted to that report by tweeting: "We have submitted to Congress a list of resources and reforms we need to keep America safe, including moving away from a random chain migration and lottery system, to one that is merit-based.”