California shooter’s visa request was missing key information: politician
“After reviewing Tashfeen Malik’s immigration file, it is clear that immigration officials did not thoroughly vet her application,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte said in a statement.
Malik, a 29-year-old Pakistani national, came to the United States last year on a fiancee visa, which Goodlatte said was issued despite a lack of proof that she had ever met her US-born husband, Syed Farook, 28.
Together the two shot dead 14 people and injured 22 at a social services center in San Bernardino, California earlier this month.
The radicalized Muslim couple are believed to have been inspired, if not directed, by the Islamic State terror group.
“The immigration official reviewing Malik’s application requested more evidence to ensure the two met in person but it was never provided and her visa was approved anyway,” Goodlatte said.
He added that the only pieces of evidence provided to show that the couple had been in Saudi Arabia at the same time — where they are said to have married — were a statement by Farook and pages from their passports.
However, the exit month and date on Malik’s passport was illegible, Goodlatte said, citing a translation provided by the Congressional Research Service.
Furthermore, Malik had a visa that was valid for only 60 days, which showed her entering Saudi Arabia in early June 2013 while Farook’s passport indicated he did not arrive until October 1, casting further doubt on whether they were in the country at the same time.
“Even if Farook and Malik were in Saudi Arabia at the same time, this does not provide evidence that they met in person,” Goodlatte said.
The Republican congressman accused President Barack Obama’s administration of refusing to take necessary steps to fully vet visa applicants and said his committee was working on a bill “to strengthen visa processing security and protect national security.”
“Visa security is critical to national security, and it’s unacceptable that US Citizenship and Immigration Services did not fully vet Malik’s application and instead sloppily approved her visa,” he said.
Of the 61 million temporary visitors to the United States in 2013, about 26,000 arrived in the United States on a K1 or “fiancee” visa, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Only 272 were from Pakistan.