This situation is becoming like a sink hole. The more time that passes, the bigger the problem gets. What we thought was solid ground becomes thin air. First we found out that one of the San Bernardino shooters was here on a K-1 visa. Then we found out that over 100,000 Syrians had entered the country on visas since the civil war there began. Now, we find out that it is even worse.
A State Department official says the U.S. has revoked more than 122,000 visas since 2001, including 9,500 because of the threat of terrorism.
Michele Thoren Bond is assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Bond says security reviews don’t stop when a visa is issued to someone.
She says the U.S. continues to match new threat information with the records of visa waivers and revoke visas if necessary based on that information.
Bond spoke Thursday to members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee examining safeguards to keep extremists from exploiting legal paths to travel to the U.S.
This would seem like good news. Bond tells the House Oversight Committee that the search for terrorist ties never stops for visa applicants. Once they come to the country, if a red flag goes up, then they know about it, and they act. They revoke the visa of anyone suspected of having terrorist ties or sympathies. But, CBS left out a very important part of Bond’s testimony.
The Obama administration cannot be sure of the whereabouts of thousands of foreigners in the U.S. who had their visas revoked over terror concerns and other reasons, a State Department official acknowledged Thursday.
The admission, made at a House oversight hearing examining immigrant vetting in the wake of major terror attacks, drew a sharp rebuke from the committee chairman.
“You don’t have a clue do you?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Now, this sheds a brighter and harsher light on the topic. So, though the DHS continues to monitor and revoke visas, they do not have the ability to do more than that. It is much like their efforts to remove hundreds of thousands of illegals from our country. They know they are here. They know that they have broken the law, but they cannot find or deport them.
And many in the know say that it will be hard to fix the situation.
University of Virginia Law Professor David Martin, a veteran of the Homeland Security, State and Defense departments, said there’s no easy solution to closing the gaps in the system, but thinks the best way to improve security in the program is to improve the intelligence collection that helps the U.S. create databases it uses for background checks.
“They’re never going to be foolproof,” he said, noting that someone like Malik – who appeared to make an effort to mask her growing radicalization – can “stay out any situation where our intelligence capacities or the capacities of the countries where they’re from or where they’re temporarily living would have any reading on them.”
So, either through our effort to ignore the danger of some religions or an inability to know everything, we have likely many dangerous people roaming our country. People waiting for their opportunity to strike. And no one knows where they are.