[guest post by Dana]
As we now know, Syed Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik was brought to the United States in 2014 on a K-1 visa, also known as a fiancee visa. According to the FBI, it is now believed that Malik was “radicalized” before she entered the United States.
At a Senate Judiciary hearing on Wednesday, FBI director James Comey expressed serious concerns about K-1 visas and whether “jihadi matchmaking” is taking place as a result:
“What data we’ve collected, the intelligence indicates that she was [radicalized] before she connected with the other killer and came here,” the FBI chief said.
“Is there any evidence that this marriage was arranged by a terrorist organization, a terrorist operative, or was it just a meeting on the Internet?” Graham asked.
“I don’t know the answer to that yet,” Comey replied.
“Do you agree with me that if it was arranged by a terrorist operative or organization, that is a game changer?” the senator continued.
“It would be a very, very important thing to know,” said Comey. “That’s why we’re working so hard to understand it.”
“Well, that’s the biggest focus, I think, of how it would change the game, that they could actually arrange a marriage of two like-minded individuals, use the fiance visa system to get into the country,” Graham said.
According to this report, under the Obama administration, it has become easier to obtain the K-1 visas:
Since 2009, President Barack Obama’s deputies have streamlined the process so that it can all be accomplished completely online–without any face-to-face check with a U.S. embassy official.
There were 24,486,536 tourist, business and other arrivals in the U.S. from residents of the 38 friendly nations on the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Since Obama took office, the number of visas issued per year to non-friendly, non-waiver residents has jumped by over 50 percent to 9,932,480 last year.
The fastest-growing sector of the program is the “Fiancé Visa” program, known as “K-1,” which jumped from 30,290 in 2013 to 41,488 in 2014. San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik was one of them.
Online companies have recently sprung up where people can apply for the visas. There is even a cable television show that “tracked people each week from around the globe who were trolling on Facebook to arrange a marriage proposal as a backdoor into America”.
Now, due to changes made by the Obama administration, applicants are no longer required to visit a U.S. embassy to have their picture taken in person and fingerprinting done. Instead:
The 90-day fiancé visa supposedly requires a passport, police certificates from the country of residence, medical examination records, evidence of financial support, and evidence of meeting and having a relationship with an American fiancé. But the Obama administration streamlined the process so that it can all be accomplished completely online.
Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, said Friday that terrorists have “found a back door” through the K-1 visa program, while Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform said the visa process “has some holes in it.”
In spite of the painfully obvious concerns and proven risks, the White House announced today that it will not suspend the program while it’s being reviewed:
The White House said Thursday that it won’t seek an immediate suspension of the “fiancee” visa program, under which the female terrorist in the massacre of 14 people in California last week entered the U.S.
“This is something that is under careful review” by the administration, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. He added that if the review by the State Department and Department of Homeland Security recommends changes to the K-1 visa program, President Obama “won’t hesitate to order those reforms.”
As Aman Thind, project director for immigration with the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, put it:
“There will always be a few people who get through the system, but this should not mean we shouldn’t reunite people who love each other and want to raise families here,” Thind said. “I really can’t stress enough that we shouldn’t let the actions of two individuals dictate policies that help so many.”
Hey, it’s all about the lovebirds.