Following the arrest of Ahmad Khan Rahami with regards to the recent New York City bombing, Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump and the GOP lawmakers have criticized the government about allowing the entry of people from countries with terror connections. It has been revealed that the suspected bomber was born in Afghanistan prior to becoming an American citizen.
According to a law enforcement official who has reviewed Rahami's travel and immigration records, the suspect has spent several weeks in Kandahar in Afghanistan and Quetta in Pakistan back in 2011. In 2013, he returns to Pakistan again and left in March 2014. Investigators are looking into whether he was radicalized overseas before returning to the US in 2014.
During a campaign speech in Estero, Florida, Trump has stated that the extremely open immigration system has made it possible for attacks to happen. He also adds that immigration security is also about national security.
South Carolina Representative Jeff Duncan says that the US must indefinitely suspend all forms of immigration from nations classified as terrorist safe havens. Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has commented that the country needs to enhance the vetting of immigrants to ensure that granting citizenship or refugee status to terrorists is not happening.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has further compounded the sentiments after an internal audit found out that 858 people were mistakenly granted US citizenship even though they had deportation orders pending against them. The audit, however, has blamed both the FBI and the DHS for their failure to digitize all fingerprint files which prompted individuals to apply for citizenship using fake identities.
In the past year, the DHS has repeatedly defended its screening processes which order refugees to undergo in-person interviews abroad and have their names run through federal terrorism and criminal databases. More screening procedures that take a couple of years to complete are done for Syrian expatriates where federal officials check their backgrounds against classified information.
The current US refugee admissions program has been established by the 1980 Refugee Act. The American President sets the number of these people to be admitted into the country each fiscal year along with numerical allocations for different regions around the globe. From 70,000 in 2015, the ceiling has been raised by 15,000 in 2016. It has been reported that the quota will again be increased to 100,000 in 2017.