U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte Saturday accused federal immigration officials of failing to thoroughly vet the visa application of San Bernardino, California, mass shooter Tashfeen Malik. She was admitted to the U.S. on a fiancee visa about 18 months ago.
“After reviewing Tashfeen Malik’s immigration file, it is clear that immigration officials did not thoroughly vet her application,” Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement. He said the file does not show she had met her fiance, Syed Rizwan Farook, as required by law.
Malik and Farook opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino Dec. 2, killing 14 and wounding nearly two dozen. The couple, parents of a 6-month-old infant, were later shot to death by police after a high-speed chase.
Malik had voiced her support of the Islamic State group on Facebook shortly before the massacre. She was born in Pakistan and later lived in Saudi Arabia.
Goodlatte indicated in his statement that although both Farook and Malik had Saudi Arabian stamps in their passports and they used those stamps as proof they had met as required by law, it was unclear whether they were in Saudi Arabia at the same time. A Judiciary Committee-mandated translation showed Malik entered Saudi Arabia June 4, 2013, on a 60-day visa, but it did not show when she had left the country. Farook's entry stamp was dated Oct. 1, 2013, and he left Saudi Arabia Oct. 20 of the same year.
“However, even if Farook and Malik were in Saudi Arabia at the same time, this does not provide evidence that they met in person,” Goodlatte said. “Additionally, Malik’s Saudi Arabian visa was good for only 60 days, so this would cast doubt on the claim that the two were in Saudi Arabia at the same time. And even if Farook and Malik met in Saudi Arabia, there is insufficient evidence in the file for USCIS [U.S. Customs and Immigration Serivce] to have made that determination.”
The Judiciary Committee currently is working on legislation to overhaul the visa process.