- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

President Trump said Tuesday the terrorist who detonated a pipe bomb on a New York City subway platform shows the need to crack down on lax immigration programs.

Speaking at the signing of the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act at the White House, Mr. Trump said the attack on Monday that injured the bombing suspect was the second attack in Manhattan in recent weeks “carried out by foreign nationals here on green cards.”

“The first attacker came through the visa lottery and the second through chain migration. We’re going to end both of them,” the president said. “Congress must get involved immediately, and they are involved immediately. We’re going to end them fast.”

The 27-year-old suspect in Monday’s attack had been living in New York for about seven years and came to the U.S. from Bangladesh.

Akayed Ullah reportedly told police he was inspired by the Islamic State terror group.

The Department of Homeland Security said Mr. Ullah was admitted to the U.S. in 2011 on a family immigrant visa, benefitting from so-called “chain migration” that allows immigrants to bring multiple family members to the U.S.

Mr. Ullah was charged Tuesday with five federal terrorism-related counts, including use of weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use. He was taken into custody shortly after the improvised body-worn pipe bomb he was carrying exploded at the Port Authority commuter complex.

Just before the attack, Mr. Ullah apparently posted a message to the president on Facebook. “Trump you failed to protect your nation,” the attacker wrote, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.

A coalition of five civil rights groups called Asian Americans Advancing Justice criticized the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions for trying to punish all immigrants who benefit from chain migration.

“It is shameful to use moments of tragedy to scapegoat all immigrants and push for unrelated policies that would drastically harm immigrant communities while doing nothing for improving national security,” the group said.

The president said the recent New York attacks “underscore the dangers we face around the globe.” He called on Democrats to “drop their shutdown threats and to send clean funding and a clean funding bill to my desk that fully funds our great military.”

“The NDAA increases the size of the American armed forces for the first time in seven years and it provides our military service members with their largest pay increase in eight years,” the president said. “Now Congress must finish the job by eliminating the defense sequestration and passing a clean appropriations bill. I think that’s going to happen. We need our military. It’s got to be perfect-o.”

The NDAA sets Pentagon spending levels and policies. The president said the legislation “demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our men and women in uniform.”

“Only when the good are strong, will peace prevail,” Mr. Trump said.

The measure approved by Congress in November authorizes $626.4 billion for the base defense budget and $65.7 billion for a war fund called Overseas Contingency Operations.

It calls for a 2.4-percent pay raise for service members, beefed up missile defense programs, an increase of 20,000 active duty and reserve troops, higher spending on military operations in Afghanistan and military hardware.

“This legislation will enhance our readiness, expand and modernize our forces and help provide our service members with the tool that they need to fight and to win,” the president said. “And we will fight and win, but hopefully, with this, we won’t have to fight because people will not be wanting to fight with us.”

Mr. Trump said a key component of the law will fund “our continued campaign to obliterate ISIS.”

“As you know, we’ve won in Syria, we’ve won in Iraq, but they spread to other areas, and we’re getting them as fast as they spread,” he said. “We’ve had more success with ISIS in the last eight months than the entire previous administration has had during its entire term.”

Referring to the missile threat posed by North Korea, the president said the NDAA will help the U.S. “create maximum pressure on the vile dictatorship” of Kim Jong Un.

“We’re working very diligently on that. … We’ll see how it all goes down,” he said. “It’s a very bad situation, a situation that should have been handled long ago by other administrations.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, called on Democrats to fully fund the military in year-end negotiations facing a Dec. 22 deadline.

“It’s time to actually allocate those funds,” Mr. McCarthy said. “I can only hope that the Democrats who worked with Republicans and with President Trump to authorize funding to keep America safe won’t turn their back on our troops now and block that money from being spent. This is no time for Washington games.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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