Would U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban have prevented the Manhattan terror attack that killed at least eight people and injured other 11?
A 29-year-old man identified as Sayfullo Saipov shouted “Allahu Akbar” before he was shot in the abdomen after plowing a pickup truck down a crowded bike lane that runs along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, New York City, on Tuesday.
The attack, which claimed the lives of at least eight people and injured other 11, is the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since September 11, when Al-Qaeda terrorists brought down the Twin Towers, killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000 others.
The Manhattan terror attack has been declared a terrorist attack. While ISIS has not immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, investigators reportedly discovered handwritten notes in Arabic near the truck that indicated allegiance to the militant group.
The terrorist, whose full name is Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, was identified as an Uzbek national living in Tampa, Florida. Saipov reportedly worked as a truck driver and Uber driver.
Saipov, who was described by a New York Post source as “very friendly,” has known addresses in both New Jersey and Florida. Although the terrorist doesn’t have an extensive criminal background, the immigrant was stopped by police for traffic tickets several times in the past.
Saipov arrived in the U.S. from Uzbekistan under former President Barack Obama in 2010 after winning a visa through what is called the Diversity Visa Program, which offers a lottery for people from countries with few immigrants in America.
The terrorist, who is a permanent legal resident of the U.S., presumably acted as a lone wolf and was not part of a wider terror plot, but investigators continue looking into the terrorist’s links to ISIS.
The Manhattan terror attack rekindled speculation about Trump’s infamous travel ban, which is currently blocked by a federal judge. Under the proposed policy, visitors from eight countries would face restrictions when trying to enter the U.S. or get visitor visas.
But would Trump’s travel ban have stopped Saipov from entering the U.S. if it was in effect in 2010, when Saipov won a visa?
Since Saipov is an Uzbek national and entered America from Uzbekistan, and the Central Asian former Soviet republic has never been on Trump’s list of countries whose citizens would be banned from entering America, the Manhattan terrorist attack would not have been prevented by Trump’s travel ban.
Trump announced the latest version of the travel ban in September, introducing travel and visitor visa restrictions for citizens of seven countries – Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea – as well as certain government officials from Venezuela due to its ongoing political and economic crisis.
In September, Trump called for an expansion of his travel ban in the wake of a terrorist attack in London that injured at least 18 commuters in a subway car during the morning rush hour.
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Although the U.S. President did not elaborate on which countries specifically should be added to his travel ban as part of the proposed expansion, terrorism in Uzbekistan is more prevalent than in any other Central Asian state.
In fact, Saipov is not the first Uzbek immigrant who has been linked to terrorism in the U.S. in recent years. In 2015, two Uzbeks and a Kazakh were arrested in Brooklyn and charged with conspiring to support ISIS.
In April, an Uzbek citizen was arrested after stealing a truck and driving it into a group of pedestrians, killing four and injuring 15 others, in Stockholm, Sweden. The terrorist had been denied a request for residency in Sweden and had been an ISIS supporter.
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