Johnson, Carper Question K-1 Visa Program Vulnerabilities Following San Bernardino Terrorist Attack
WASHINGTON — Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent letters to the departments of Homeland Security and State on Wednesday requesting documents and information on the K-1 visa program following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif. One of the suspected terrorists, Tashfeen Malik, entered the United States under a “fiancé visa” in July 2014.
“The San Bernardino attack has exposed the K-1 visa program as another potential vulnerability to our nation’s security,” Sen. Johnson said. “Despite undergoing background checks and reviews by both the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, Tashfeen Malik gained lawful entry into the United States and brought terrorism to our shores. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, I will push for answers from the Homeland Security and State departments to find out how Ms. Malik slipped through the cracks and explore necessary reforms aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the United States via K-1 visas in the future.”
“Following the attacks in San Bernardino, the threat of homegrown terrorism and self-radicalization has become all too real to Americans,” Sen. Carper said. “As the Committee with oversight over our nation’s homeland security, it’s critical that we learn all that we can from this tragedy to inform our fight against terrorism in all forms here at home and keep Americans safe. I realize that many Americans are concerned about terrorists traveling to our country. I am too and that’s why I believe we must continue to examine any vulnerabilities in the various ways people are able to travel to and stay in our country. Given that one of the San Bernardino attackers came to the United States on a K-1 visa — or ‘fiancé visa’ — it’s important for us to get more information about that program in particular to determine if there are weaknesses and, if so, fix them to help prevent tragedies like this from happening again. In addition to our examination of our traveler programs, we must also address the threat of homegrown terrorism and self-radicalization and work to destroy ISIS’s influence by countering their twisted message and inoculating against the group’s efforts to radicalize our own people here at home.”