Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are calling on the Obama administration to disclose the immigration histories of Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the alleged San Bernardino attackers.
“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,” Sessions and Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, wrote in a letter Thursday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Department of Homeland Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of State John Kerry.
They stressed that Congress needs this information in order to “act as responsible stewards of American immigration policy” given that the upcoming omnibus year-end spending bill “would set the U.S. on an autopilot path to approve green cards, asylee, and refugee status to approximately 170,000 migrants from Muslim countries during the next fiscal year.”
Reports indicate that Farook was a U.S. citizen whose parents are from Pakistan. In 2013 he reportedly brought Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani, back to the U.S. with him from Saudi Arabia on a “fiancee” visa. Malik went on to become a lawful permanent resident.
Both Farook and Malik were killed by law enforcement following the attack Wednesday.
Following up on their three-and-half month old request for the immigration histories of 72 individuals in the U.S. identified in that last year to have terrorism connections, Sessions and Cruz, pressed the Obama officials on their previous inquiry and Farook and Malik — arguing that an answer is now “urgent.”
“A response is not only long overdue, but urgent in light of a series of assaults, including: the heinous attacks in San Bernardino, California, the earlier attacks on the military recruiting center in Chattanooga, the Boston 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,” they wrote.
Recalling the details of the case relayed in press accounts, Sessions and Cruz highlighted the Pakistani origin of both alleged perpetrators, noting that among Muslim countries “Pakistan is the top recipient of U.S. green cards.” They further highlighted the extensive weaponry and explosives found in their possession.
“Further, according to CBS News, sources say that the two viewed ISIS propaganda online, and separate reports indicate that Farook was in touch with other individuals being investigated for terrorism,” Sessions and Cruz wrote.
They specially requested the “immigration history of [Farook and Malik’s] parents and any immigration documents related to their marriage and her subsequent travel to the U.S.
”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,” they wrote, noting that so far this year they have already identified 12 people who came to the U.S. as refugees “who have been subsequently implicated in terrorism.”