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  1. #1
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Spouse of Saudi student sentenced to 12 years for covering up al Qaeda training

    Spouse of Saudi student sentenced to 12 years for covering up al Qaeda training

    October 14, 2019

    Daniel Horowitz

    Evlakhov Valeriy | Shutterstock

    The direct cause of 9/11 was the fact that it was so easy for primarily Saudi nationals to obtain visas and remain in the country unvetted. Eighteen years later, we still have not learned the lesson that immigration policy is the cornerstone of national security.

    At present, there are roughly 45,000 foreign students here on F visas from Saudi Arabia, much more than we admitted in 2001. Worse, we take an unlimited number of unvetted foreign students and easily grant their spouses F-2 visas when marriage and visa fraud have been known terrorist loopholes. The case of Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj should remind lawmakers of the need for visa reform.

    In a case eerily similar to the profile of the 9/11 hijackers, on Feb. 5, 2018, Naif Alfallaj was arrested by the FBI and charged with lying about his past history with al Qaeda in order to get a visa. He came in late 2011 from Saudi Arabia on an F-2 visa as the husband of a foreign student. According to the complaint, Alfallaj applied for flight lessons in Oklahoma based on the issuance of that visa. At the time, he denied any ties to terror, but fingerprints on an application to the notorious al Farooq al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan showed otherwise. According to the FBI, “The document was recovered by the U.S. military from an al Qaeda safe house in Afghanistan and included an emergency contact number associated with Alfallaj’s father in Saudi Arabia.”

    Al Farooq was one of the camps where the 9/11 hijackers trained. Hani Hasan Hanjour, the 9/l1 hijacker who piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, was admitted in September 2000 on an F-1 student visa from Saudi Arabia. Yet 10 years later, Alfallaj was able to obtain a similar entry after having trained at the very same campus and having used to the visa to apply for flight school in Oklahoma.

    Last week, U.S. District Judge Scott L. Palk sentenced Alfallaj to 151 months’ imprisonment for visa fraud and giving false statements to federal agents.

    Thankfully, the FBI caught this guy, but what is to give us confidence that out of the tens of thousands of Middle Eastern foreign studentswho come here every year, plus their spouses, there aren’t more terrorists among them? Remember, there is a strong pressure from the universities to bring in endless numbers of foreign students, and unlike other visa categories, there are no caps on F visas. So long as they can pay their way, they qualify for the visa.

    Both the student visa and spousal visas remain vulnerable to exploitation by terrorists and require better scrutiny when they are coming from countries with terrorist activity. But it’s also about numbers. When we bring in roughly 150,000 foreign students from countries in the Middle East, it creates a pressure and precedent to keep the pipeline flowing to satisfy the universities. There is clearly no appetite in the political class to limit these visas.

    Alexei Saab, the Hezbollah operative who was recently arrested in a blockbuster counterterror investigation, is accused of marriage and visa fraud when he attempted to “marry” someone who came here on a student visa in order to get her permanent status based on his naturalization.

    The San Bernardino attacker, Tashfeen Malik, came here on a spousal visa from Pakistan under dubious circumstances by her husband and terrorist partner, Syed Rizwan Farook. It’s still unclear if sufficient vetting procedures have been put into place to better scrutinize marriage visas from countries of security concern. On December 2, 2015, the terror couple killed 14 and seriously wounded 22 others at a holiday party for employees of the Bernardino County Department of Public Health.

    The student visa is a particular concern because there is not as much scrutiny for it as for a green card, but it offers longer-term legal status than a tourist visa. Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, who has tracked visa overstays for many years, is particularly concerned with the opportunity for terrorists to exploit this category and the fact that Saudi Arabians have a high overstay rate. “Certainly, the student visa and spouse categories are of special concern, because the category offers long-term residence, and in the case of the spouse, completely unsupervised residence,” said Vaughan. “The spouse need not show any qualifications whatsoever. Last year we issued more than 17,000 new student and student-spouse visas to citizens of Saudi Arabia. At the same time, about 4,000 of them overstayed, according to DHS. This is utterly unacceptable and suggests that the president needs to take further steps to reduce issuances.”

    With numbers like that, it only takes a few terrorists to wreak havoc. Have we improved vetting since 2011? Vaughan believes that we need “further enhancements to our process to focus on specific countries and types of applicants who are a known threat and a known risk for problems.”

    Very few countries were placed on the travel ban, and there remain many countries with large populations of fundamental Islamists who still come in large numbers. Absent an ironclad vetting system, it’s hard to see how we are not letting in security threats every year. As Vaughan warns, the way the FBI outed Alfallaj was quite unique: “We are not always going to be lucky enough to find fingerprints of operatives who have arrived here before they act.”
    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 10-14-2019 at 06:38 PM.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    10s of thousands foreign students who overcrowd our schools, take up our housing, commit crimes against us and have NO respect for this country.

    10s of thousands of foreign students who take OUR jobs!

    10s of thousands of foreign students who also bring their family members here!

    Put a PAUSE on all Student Visa's and all immigration and clean this mess up!


  3. #3
    Senior Member Airbornesapper07's Avatar
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    Aug 2018

    U.S. CBP and FBI Syed Rizwan Farook, Tashfeen Malik

    “Straw Buyer” of guns supplied to terrorists of 2015 San Bernardino attack gets 20 years

    October 25, 2020

    Riverside, California Man Who Admitted Planning Mass Casualty Attacks and Purchasing Firearms Later Used in 2015 Terrorist Attack in San Bernardino Ordered to Serve 20-Year Federal Prison Sentence, DOJ reported.
    A Riverside man was sentenced 23 Oct. to 20 years in federal prison for conspiring to commit terrorist attacks in the Inland Empire and for providing assault rifles later used in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack that killed 14 people.
    Enrique Marquez Jr., 28, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal.
    Today’s sentencing concludes a case in which Marquez pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339A. In the plea agreement and in open court, Marquez admitted that he conspired with Syed Rizwan Farook in 2011 and 2012 to attack Riverside City College (RCC) and commuter traffic on the 91 Freeway.
    Marquez also pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922 (a)(6), by serving as the “straw buyer” of two assault rifles that he provided to Farook. More than three years later, Farook and his wife used those rifles in the shooting rampage at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center (IRC) on Dec. 2, 2015. Hours later, both Farook and his wife were killed by law enforcement, ending what at the time was the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.
    The investigation into the deadly shooting at the IRC quickly uncovered evidence that, in 2011 and 2012, Marquez purchased two rifles that Farook and his wife used in the IRC attack. According to Marquez’s plea agreement, Farook paid Marquez for the rifles. Marquez also discussed with Farook the use of radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the planned attacks on RCC and State Route 91. Marquez admitted purchasing Christmas tree lightbulbs and a container of smokeless powder for use in manufacturing IEDs.
    Prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum filed last week that Marquez “was a full, willing, and motivated participant of the conspiracy who not only provided the agreement necessary for the conspiracy to attack RCC and SR-91, but also co-designed the attacks with Farook, purchased the two firearms and ammunition to facilitate the attacks, researched bomb making and obtained explosive powder and other bomb-making materials, and visited RCC and SR-91 to sketch out how he and Farook would attack the two locations to maximize casualties.”
    Marquez was arrested about two weeks after the IRC terrorist attack and has remained in custody ever since his first court appearance on Dec. 17, 2015. In imposing today’s sentence, Judge Bernal denied Marquez’s request for a five-year sentence, which essentially would have been a time-served sentence that soon would have resulted in his release from custody. In court documents, prosecutors called this request an attempt to “downplay the seriousness of his actions, and skirt that his actions contributed to the mass killing and injuring of innocent people in San Bernardino just a few years later.”
    The case against Marquez was the result of an investigation by several members of the Inland Empire Joint Terrorism Task Force, including agents and detectives from the FBI; the San Bernardino Police Department; the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Homeland Security Investigations; the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department; the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office; the Chino Police Department; the Redlands Police Department; the Ontario Police Department; the Corona Police Department; and the Riverside Police Department.
    Also as a result of the investigation into the IRC attack, three people have pleaded guilty to being part of a sham marriage scheme in which a Russian woman “married” Marquez to obtain immigration benefits. Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of IRC attacker Syed Rizwan Farook; Tatiana Farook, who is Syed Raheel Farook’s wife; and Mariya Chernykh, who is Tatiana Farook’s sister, pleaded guilty to immigration fraud charges and admitted being part of conspiracy in which Chernykh paid Marquez to enter into a bogus marriage. The three defendants in the marriage fraud case are scheduled to be sentenced early next year.
    In another case stemming from the investigation, the mother of Syed Rizwan Farook pleaded guilty in March to a federal criminal charge of intending to impede the federal criminal investigation by shredding a map her son made in connection with the attack. Rafia Sultana Shareef, a.k.a. Rafia Farook, of Corona, is currently scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Bernal on November 16.
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