Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, sent a letter Thursday to the Obama administration demanding the immigration history of the San Bernardino attackers, and they warned that if Congress passes the omnibus spending bill now on its plate, it will lead to nearly 200,000 more Muslims coming to the U.S. at a time when the FBI cannot keep up with all the terror threats.
The bill is scheduled to be voted on Dec. 11.
The FBI has more than 900 active ISIS investigations in all 50 states. Yet, Obama is bringing in 10,000 Syrian refugees and about 35,000 more refugees from other Muslim-dominated countries such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The letter notes that Congress is a week away from voting on an omnibus year-end spending bill that would set the U.S. on autopilot toward approving green cards, asylum and refugee status for 170,000 migrants from Muslim countries during the next year, and yet the administration is still concealing the immigration history of 72 known, recent terrorists.
In addition to the 170,000 migrants would be tens of thousands of temporary visas for entry and employment, and the entire sum is added to the rest of the annual autopilot green card, political-asylum, refugee and foreign-worker flow. The security task involved is immense, and Congress must have the requested information if lawmakers are to act as responsible stewards of American immigration policy, said Cruz and Sessions.
The letter was sent to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Press reports indicate the attackers who killed 14 and wounded 21 at a Christmas party – Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik – wore “assault style” clothing and tactical gear. Authorities described their home as an “IED factory” with multiple pipe bombs and small explosives strapped to remote-controlled cars.
Farook is reportedly the child of immigrants who came to the United States from Pakistan, and Malik traveled to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia.
The FBI confirmed Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a new wife he had met online.
“The couple met online a few years ago and married last year in Islam’s holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, according to co-workers at the public health department and others who knew them,” the L.A. Times reported. “The Saudi Embassy in Washington confirmed that Farook spent nine days in the kingdom in summer 2014.”
Wife passes U.S. ‘background check’
Authorities said that when he returned to the U.S. in July 2014, Farook brought Malik with him on a fiancee visa. “After a background check by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, she was granted a conditional green card last summer,” the Times reported.
Among Muslim nations, Pakistan is the top recipient of U.S. green cards, having received 83,000 between FY 2009-FY 2013, according to Sessions and Cruz.
Sources told CBS News the two viewed ISIS propaganda online, and separate reports indicate that Farook was in regular contact by phone and social media with known jihadist terrorists both in the U.S. and overseas.
They had more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition in their SUV, along with pipe bombs that could be set off by remote control. Inside Farook’s house were 4,500 rounds of ammo and a dozen pipe bombs.
Farook traveled twice to Saudi Arabia and once to Pakistan.
The enemy has shown its capabilities
“In our struggle against terrorism, we are dealing with an enemy that has shown it is not only capable of bypassing U.S. screening, but of recruiting and radicalizing Muslim migrants after their entry to the United States,” the senators’ letter states.
“The recruitment of terrorists in the U.S. is not limited to adult migrants, but to their young children and to their U.S.-born children – which is why family immigration history is necessary to understand the nature of the threat,” the letter continues.
The FBI has shielded the Islamic motive behind several recent attacks including the knife attack by Faisal Muhammad at UC-Merced last month that wounded four students and the deadly shooting carried out by Yossef Muhammad Abdulaziz in Chattanooga earlier this year.
Sessions has sought the immigration histories of 72 terrorist suspects arrested in just the past year, but the Obama administration has refused to provide their immigration histories.
“Accordingly, in addition to the previously requested information from our August 12th letter, we demand that you immediately provide the same detailed information requested in that letter for Farook and Malik, which would include the immigration history of their parents and any immigration documents related to their marriage and her subsequent travel to the U.S.,” the letter states.
“On August 12, we sent a letter requesting that you provide basic information regarding the immigration histories of 72 individuals in the United States who have been identified as having a connection to terrorism over a one-year period,” it continues. “You have failed to comply with the request, sent more than three-and-half months ago.”
Farook met his Saudi wife online. On the dating site, he noted that he wanted a wife “who wore the hijab,” according to NBC News.
Evidence is building
A response from the White House is not only long overdue, but urgent in light of a series of assaults, including the attacks in San Bernardino, California, the earlier attacks on the military recruiting center in Chattanooga, the Boston Marathon bombing, “and Congress’ imminent consideration of government funding legislation that would include funding for myriad immigration programs that have allowed for these events to occur,” the letter states.
“In the first 11 months of this year, we have already identified 12 individuals brought into the country as refugees who have been subsequently implicated in terrorism. Their countries of origin range from Bosnia, to Somalia, to Uzbekistan. These events do not occur in isolation, but tend to be part of broader networks of radicalization and extremism that must be understood as we develop immigration policy.”