Dr. Ben Carson suggested that the entry into the US of San Bernardino shooting suspect Tashfeen Malik should serve as a clear reminder that the debate over whether to allow Syrian refugees into the United States should end.
Suspects Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeed Malik were killed by police in a shootout after their attack on Inland Regional Center, which left 14 dead and 21 wounded, according to officials.
During a keynote speech at the American Legislative Exchange Council's State and Nation Policy Summit Plenary Lunch this afternoon, the Republican presidential candidate said Syed Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik should serve as a reminder of why the United States should block Syrian refugees.
“Someone told me this today. I’ll have to check it out but if it’s true, it should end this whole argument about Syrian refugees,” Carson said. “Said the woman who was involved in the massacre in California was vetted and brought here after that vetting process. Now if that resulted, that vetting resulted in missing someone who could carry out such a horrendous crime, that should be the end of the argument right there. We shouldn’t have to talk about this anymore.”
The FBI said Malik was in the United States on a Pakistani passport and a K1 “Fiancé” visa, meaning Farook would have petitioned for Malik to enter the country and they would have been required to marry within 90 days of her entry, pursuant to U.S. Regulations. Officials said Farook had left the country and then returned to the United States with Malik in July 2014.
But as State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a briefing yesterday, the screening process for the refugee program is more comprehensive.
“I mean, arguably, it’s longer in duration; it’s a more thorough vetting,” Toner told reporters in a briefing Thursday. “But we stand by the K-1 visa and our visa processing as well.”
Toner said the the K-1 applicants, like other visa applicants, go through a vigorous screening process as well.
“But we stand by the K-1 visa and our visa processing as well,” he said. “Look since 9/11, all of these involve multiple layers of vetting with multiple agencies putting folks through various systems where we watch individuals, what their affiliations are, whether they’re on any kind of watch lists. All of this is done for any visa application, but certainly stringent — most stringent for the refugees, and we’ve said none more stringently than those coming from Syria.”
Carson also emphasized that the United States should be putting our “cyber weapons” to greater use to fight ISIS and other terror organizations over social media, countering their online recruiting efforts.
“We need to fight people in the Internet. You know one of the things that the radical Islamists are about to do is get to a lot of disaffected people and tell them that we can make your life a lot better and they do that through social media,” he told the crowd in Phoenix. “Where we should be putting our opposing messages through social media and we should use cyber weapons to disrupt their social media.”
Sources told ABC News that Malik was using an alias on social media and pledged her allegiance to ISIS leader al Baghdadi in the hours before the massacre.