- Judiciary Committee chair says officials missed vetting steps
- Goodlatte issues statement after reviewing immigration file
The U.S. approved an entry visa for Tashfeen Malik, one of the couple who staged a deadly attack in California this month, even though she never provided the extra evidence requested by an immigration official, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said on Saturday.
The official asked for documentation to validate that Malik had met her future husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, in person, Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said in a statement.
The pair’s attack on an office holiday party in San Bernardino killed 14 people and injured 21 others. It has emerged that Malik, born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia, and Farook, born in Illinois and raised in Southern California, had become radicalized and committed to Islamic jihad at least two years ago, before their engagement.
It’s unclear from the information provided in the application for a visa -- a statement by Farook, and copies of their passport stamps for Saudi Arabia -- whether the two were in that country at the same time or met there, according to Goodlatte.
“Visa security is critical to national security, and it’s unacceptable that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services did not fully vet Malik’s application and instead sloppily approved her visa,” Goodlatte said.
Shortly before the attack, a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State was posted on a Facebook page maintained by Malik, who entered the U.S. on the fiancée, or K-1, visa in 2014. President Barack Obama has directed the State and Homeland Security departments to review the screening that preceded Malik’s visa.
Goodlatte said on Dec. 14 that the House Judiciary Committee was working on legislation to enhance visa security processing. In Saturday’s statement he said the Obama administration “refuses to take the steps necessary” for complete vetting.