Following the deaths of four Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said the United States needs to arm its military bases and overhaul its immigration policy in order to prevent another national tragedy. The Republican presidential candidate also called for congressional hearings to consider making both changes, the Hill reported.
The four Marines died when 24-year-old Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire Thursday morning at two military facilities in Chattanooga. Abdulazeez died in the second shooting. Department of Justice officials said in a news conference Friday that the motive of the attack is still unknown.
FBI officials said Abdulazeez was a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kuwait and attended a regional area high school near the scenes of the shootings, a Marine recruitment office in a strip mall and a Marine training facility.
Cruz said in a statement that Congress should "pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act that would allow our government to stop Americans who travel overseas to train with terrorist groups from coming back to attack us at home. We can thoroughly overhaul our broken immigration system that is allowing this type of individual to gain citizenship.”
But more should be done to protect U.S. service members while they're at work, Cruz said, calling for immediate hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss the need for "our enlisted men and women to have the right to be armed in military facilities."
Beyond implementing gun and immigration reforms, Cruz said in a statement that the U.S. faced a bigger problem in the future, battling the forces of "radical Islam."
Reuters reported that the FBI is investigating whether Abdulazeez made connections with any extremists or traveled to other Middle Eastern countries while visiting Jordan for seven months in 2014.
In a statement, Cruz called Abdulazeez’s actions “an act of war,” and said the gunman “was there to carry out jihad, an act of radical Islamic terrorism.”
“While we might wish it otherwise, the forces of radical Islam are at war with us -- here and now,” Cruz said in the statement. "No one acts in isolation. Through social media ISIS, al Qaida and other groups are infiltrating our nation with impunity while our government will not even admit that radical Islamic terrorism is a problem.”