Obama Misidentified Visa Program San Bernardino Shooter Used to Enter U.S.

Obama Oval Saul LoebAP
Saul Loeb/AP

President Obama misidentified the visa path by which Tashfeen Malik — one of the San Bernardino terrorists — entered the U.S. in his Oval Office address to the nation Sunday night.

In his primetime remarks to address the terrorist threat, Obama said Malik used the Visa Waiver Program — a program which allows the nationals of participating countries to get into the U.S. without a visa. Malik, a Pakistani, however, came to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia on a K-1 fiancée visa.

Neither Pakistan nor Saudi Arabia are Visa Waiver Program countries.

“And we constantly examine our strategy to determine when additional steps are needed to get the job done. That’s why I’ve ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the Visa Waiver Program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country,” Obama said in his address.

The official White House transcript includes a correction with the word “waiver” crossed out. A White House official told Politico that Obama was supposed to say “visa program.”

The K-1 visa allows foreign nationals to travel to the U.S. for 90 days to marry their citizen sponsor. The foreign national may then apply for an adjustment of status to a permanent resident.

The Visa Waiver Program has also been under scrutiny in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. Congress is slated to consider legislation in the coming days that would tighten Visa Waiver Program security.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.