Department/School of the Primary Author

History and Government


Terrorism, Immigration




In late January of 2017, President Trump signed an executive order banning non-American citizens traveling into the United States from seven different countries. The title of the order was, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” As implied, the stated purpose was to limit the number of immigrants in order to avoid future attacks. President Trump claims that the executive order is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the United States’ immigrant vetting procedures and thus, protect the nation from terrorist incursion. For the order to serve a purpose, immigration must play a role in terrorism. Thus, the essential point of disagreement is whether a connection exists between the influx of migrants—especially those from terror-prone nations—and the occurrence of terrorist activity in the receiving nation. In this study, we attempt to discover if a link exists between immigration from terror-prone nations and terrorism by examining the current literature and using data to analyze the levels of immigration as well as the incidents of terrorism in six countries.

The hypothesis of this research project is that as countries receive increased levels of asylum seekers from terror-prone nations they will experience a corresponding increase in the numbers of terror attacks within the nation. Our basic premise is that immigrant flows form a social bridge, transplanting cultures, ideologies, as well as individuals between the sending and receiving nations. Thus, we are seeking to find out if there is a strong correlation between immigration and terrorism. The null hypothesis, then, is that there is no correlation between immigration from terror-prone nations and the occurrence of terror attacks within a particular nation.

Our research shows that, as predicted in our hypothesis, increased terrorism is linked to

increased migration from terror-prone nations and regions. The data from Germany and Turkey display a strong positive correlation between asylum-seeker migration and incidents of terrorism. It is worth noting that immigration alone is not enough to predict a rise in terrorist attacks. Rather, immigration is only one of many factors that may lead to increased terrorism. However, it is our contention that immigration from terror-producing regions is a significant predictor of increased terrorist activity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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© 2017 Ethan Beck, Unix Diza, and Amy Searl. All rights reserved



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