Reports: Alleged Tsarnaev Accomplice in US Illegally

Several media outlets are now reporting that one of the three men arrested in connection with the Boston terrorist attack is an illegal immigrant.

CNN’s Jake Tapper reports that the three alleged accomplices in custody are students. Two of them, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, are from Kazakhstan, and the third is U.S. citizen Robel Phillipos.

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are being charged with obstruction of justice. Complaints from the U.S. Attorney Office say they helped destroy evidence that might further implicate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the April 15 terrorist attacks at the Boston Marathon, namely disposing of a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop belonging to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The complaints say Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov "admitted that they agreed to get rid of [the backpack] after concluding from news reports that Tsarnaev was one of the Boston Marathon bombers."

All three students, Tapper notes, were interviewed by FBI officials in connection with the bombings as early as April 19, four days after the terror attack happened. Citing a U.S. government official as a source, Tapper reported that the interview with the three students “lasted late into the evening and into Saturday morning. But there wasn’t enough evidence to charge them with a crime.”

“It wasn’t until the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division heard about the interviews later on Saturday that they realized Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov were not currently of legal immigration status, and ICE officials went to pick them up and detain them,” Tapper added. Another U.S. government official, Tapper said, told his network “that at an immigration court hearing this morning, the court learned that Tazhayakov returned to Kazakhstan in December 2012, and his status with U. Mass-Dartmouth was terminated on January 3. Yet somehow he was allowed to return into the U.S. on January 20.”

“They shouldn’t have let him in,” that government official said, according to CNN. “Bells should have gone off.”

Center for Immigration Studies national security fellow Janice Kephart, who served as the border security counsel for the 9/11 commission, revealed in a recent piece that most terrorist incidents in the United States in the past five years have been committed by “foreign-born individuals.” Kephart was one of the few critical of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill allowed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

“According to the Terrorist Screening Center, 98 percent of the approximately 550,000 individuals on the terrorist watchlist are foreign-born,” Kephart wrote, before proceeding to detail several instances of terrorism in the U.S. and those incidents’ ties to the immigration system. 

Roughly 10,000 to 20,000 on the watchlist reside within the United States. It is therefore not surprising that four of the 13 most notorious terrorism arrests since 2009 involved naturalized U.S. citizens. Five cases involved native-born U.S. citizens, while eight involved foreign nationals (it appears the Boston Marathon bombing included two foreign-born brothers), all of whom had received multiple U.S. immigration benefits.

Chris Crane, the president of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers’ union, has relentlessly pointed out that the political officials atop President Barack Obama’s administration have blocked career law enforcement officials’ attempts to enforce immigration laws. At a recent press conference, Crane pointed out that the Gang of Eight bill will “put the public safety at risk without doubt. It fails on interior enforcement, it’s amnesty first, enforcement perhaps never.”

“Unfortunately, I do not believe that the Gang of Eight is a group that we can trust with a matter so important to the safety of American communities and security of our nation,” Crane said.

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