U.S. Congress Determined to Maintain Easy Entry for Potential Foreign Terrorists

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

December 10, 2015
I’m blogging from Capitol Hill where I’m urging Congress to act swiftly to pass legislation that will protect Americans from the ever-mounting terrorism threat. Even though Congress is in near-hysteria mode about what to do next, it’s far from certain that it will act quickly and decisively enough to prevent another San Bernardino.
 
Despite vigorous White House assertions that the United States will vet incoming refugees and ultimately defeat ISIS, few Americans buy it. Much more than San Bernardino contributes to the nation’s skepticism. Taken together 9/11, Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Chattanooga shootings reveal a troubling pattern that is unlikely to end any time soon. If Syed Farook was quiet, shy and living the American dream, as those who knew him claimed, then many other American citizen terrorists from new immigrant families may be lurking.
 
The FBI quickly discovered the killer Farook. In the home Farook shared with his wife Tashfeen Malik, agents found a stockpile that included thousands of rounds of ammo and an improvised explosive device factory to build pipe bombs. Other Farook-types, the FBI has repeatedly warned, are likely within the U.S. and may be plotting to carry out attacks like the San Bernardino tragedy.
 
Yet Congress downplays the obvious – that continuing to allow Muslim immigrants and refugees into the U.S. puts Americans at risk or at least at more risk than Americans would be if a sensible restrictive immigration policy limited their entry. House Speaker Paul Ryan is the latest influential legislator to endorse the status quo.
 
Congress in session
Congress determined to maintain status quo on potentially dangerous immigration.

Congress will soon begin its winter recess. While it’s possible that some minor tweaks may be made in the dangerous visa waiver program, it has already taken a possible debate about the K-1 fiancée visa that allowed Farook to bring his terrorist wife Tashfeen Malik to California off the year-end agenda. The FBI is investigating whether a foreign-based terrorist organization may have arranged a marriage between Farook and Malik. Without the K visa, Malik’s entry would have been difficult if not impossible.
 
Breaking bad news: House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that if, as he promised he would, President Obama vetoes the recently passed GOP legislation to pause resettling Syrian and Iraqi refugees, he could on second try get enough Democrats to flip their original vote to sustain the presidential veto.
 
So the biggest question remains unanswered: if Congress acknowledges the threat that terrorism-prone American citizens like Farook, Chattanooga shooter Mohammad Abdulazeez, Boston bomber Dzhokhar Anzorovich “Jahar” Tsarnaev and his legal immigrant permanent resident brother Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev represent, then why does it insist on maintaining the procedures and tools that keep the doors open and facilitate the arrival of more terrorists?
 
Time is short. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your representatives to add the American SAFE Act to the spending bill and remove any funds for resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Those funds can be used to assist refugees closer to their homes, a far more efficient means of providing assistance. The original deadline for the spending bill was set for December 11, but it may be delayed until next week.
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