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You're More Likely to Die Choking Than Be Killed by Foreign Terrorists, Data Show

The potential for Americans to be killed by foreign terrorists in the U.S. is being raised as a result of Trump's executive order on immigration.
IMAGE: Lightning strike
Lightning strikes along Interstate 70 near Junction City, Kan., Tuesday, April 26, 2016.Orlin Wagner / AP

You're more likely to die from being buried alive or from choking on food than at the hands of foreign-born terrorists attacking on American soil.

The death rate data was compiled by NBC News in light of a recent report by the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, which found the likelihood of an American being killed in an immigrant-initiated terrorist strike in any given year is just one in 3.64 million, including those murdered on 9/11.

Other scenarios that are likelier to occur than a terrorist attack carried out by a foreign-born national include:

The potential for Americans to be killed by foreign-born attackers has been gaining attention after President Donald Trump's executive order, which bars people from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.

Trump said the order was a precautionary move in the fight against what he calls "radical Islamic terrorism" and meant to "protect the American people from foreign terrorist attacks by foreign nationals."

The executive order bans visa-holding nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. Refugees are barred for 120 days, while Syrian refugees are blocked indefinitely.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that the ban was about "keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!"

While some nationals from the countries singled out by the Trump administration have certainly committed acts of terrorism within the U.S. — just this fall a Somali refugee injured 11 people in a knife attack on the Ohio State campus — none have been fatal.

"Terrorism is a threat to American lives and property, but it is a small and manageable threat without the president's executive orders," Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at Cato, told NBC News.

Nowrasteh found that from 1975 through 2015, 11 foreign-born nationals from the seven countries were convicted of carrying out or attempting to carry out a terrorist attack in America — six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis and one Yemeni. No Libyans or Syrians were convicted of such crimes during the same 40-year period.

"Terrorism is a threat to American lives and property, but it is a small and manageable threat without the President's executive orders."

Three other countries — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt — top Nowrasteh’s list of foreign-born individuals who committed or were convicted of attempting to commit a terror attack on U.S. soil. None of those nations were included in Trump's executive order.

According to New America, a think tank compiling information and data on terrorist activities in the U.S., the majority of "jihadi terrorists" are actually American-born or in the country legally.

"While a range of citizenship statuses are represented, every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident," the study found.