- The Washington Times - Friday, December 4, 2015

The shootings this week in California are escalating the debate on Capitol Hill over terrorism and immigration, and two of the Senate’s most vocal opponents of President Obama’s approach to both issues are now demanding the administration shares the immigration history of the San Bernardino attackers.

GOP Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Ted Cruz of Texas said in a letter to the Obama White House Thursday that the information could help steer members of Congress over the course of the coming days as they look to nail down a massive spending agreement that will fund, among other things, national security and immigration programs.

“In our struggle against terrorism, we are dealing with an enemy that has shown it is not only capable of bypassing U.S. screening, but of recruiting and radicalizing Muslim migrants after their entry to the United States,” the senators wrote. “The recruitment of terrorists in the U.S. is not limited to adult migrants, but to their young children and to their U.S.-born children — which is why family immigration history is necessary to understand the nature of the threat.”

The request comes as lawmakers gear up to pass a $1 trillion spending bill to keep the government running through Dec. 11 and after House Republicans passed a bill last month to curb the Obama administration’s plan to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, appear to be moving toward common ground on plans to strengthen the visa waiver system.

In their letter, Mr. Sessions and Mr. Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, said a dozen individuals entered the country this years as refugees and have since been “subsequently implicated in terrorism.”

“These events do not occur in isolation, but tend to be part of broader networks of radicalization and extremism that must be understood as we develop immigration policy,” they wrote.

The letter is a follow up request from August when the lawmakers requested information on “the immigration histories of 72 individuals in the United States who have been identified as having a connection to terrorism over a one-year period.”

They said the administration failed to provide the information.

And they said the attacks in California increased the importance of the administration providing the information.

They highlighted news stories that indicated the California attackers — Syed Rizwan Farook, reportedly the son of Pakistani immigrants, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, who apparently moved the U.S. on a fiancé visa and later became a lawful permanent resident — viewed the Islamic State terror group’s propaganda and had the firepower to do more damage.

Congress is days away from consideration of an omnibus year-end funding bill that would set the U.S. on an autopilot path to approve green cards, asylee, and refugee status to approximately 170,000 migrants from Muslim countries during the next year,” the lawmakers said. “In addition to that … tens of thousands of temporary visas for entry and employment, and the entire sum is added to the rest of the annual autopilot green card, asylee, refugee, and foreign worker flow.”

“The security task involved is immense, and Congress must have the requested information if lawmakers are to act as responsible stewards of American immigration policy,” they said.

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