Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz and fellow Tea Party favorite Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions have sent a sharply worded letter to the Obama administration demanding the release of the immigration history of the husband and wife responsible for the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
In a joint letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jay Johnson, Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the two Republican lawmakers said they want "basic information" about San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik along with 72 other individuals in the United States who have been identified as having a connection to terrorism.
"A response is not only long overdue, but urgent in light of a series of assaults, including: the heinous attacks in San Bernardino, California, the earlier attacks on the military recruiting center in Chattanooga, the Boston Bombing, and Congress’ imminent consideration of government funding legislation that would include funding for myriad immigration programs that have allowed for these events to occur," the letter from the senators’ stated.
Farook was born in Chicago on June 14, 1987 to parents born in Pakistan and was raised in Southern California. He met his wife, Malik, in Pakistan and the two moved back to the U.S., with Malik using a K-1 visa to enter the U.S.
The K-1 visa is issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a United States citizen to enter the United States. CBS News reported that Malik passed a DHS counterterrorism screening as part of her vetting for K-1 visa.
The two were married on Aug. 16, 2014, in Riverside County, according to their marriage license. Both listed their religion as Muslim. The couple had a 6-month-old daughter who they dropped with relatives Wednesday morning before the shooting.
"In our struggle against terrorism, we are dealing with an enemy that has shown it is not only capable of bypassing U.S. screening, but of recruiting and radicalizing Muslim migrants after their entry to the United States," Cruz and Sessions wrote in the letter. "The recruitment of terrorists in the U.S. is not limited to adult migrants, but to their young children and to their U.S.-born children – which is why family immigration history is necessary to understand the nature of the threat."
The FBI was investigating the shootings as a potential act of terrorism but reached no firm conclusions Thursday, said a U.S. official briefed on the probe. Separately, a U.S. intelligence official said Farook had been in contact with known Islamic extremists on social media. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
At the same time, law enforcement officials from local police to Attorney General Lynch cautioned it could have been work-related rage, or possibly even a twisted hybrid of religion and personal vendetta.
Farook had no criminal record and was not under scrutiny by local or federal law enforcement before the attacks.
The letter by Cruz and Sessions came on the heels of comments the Texas senator made during a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, in which Cruz said he's worried that the mass shooting in California may be an act of what he's calling "Islamic terrorism."
Cruz told the crowd of Jewish activists gathered in Washington D.C. that "all of us are deeply concerned that this is yet another manifestation of terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism here at home."