OTR Interviews

How the San Bernardino terrorist's fiance visa allowed her in US

'On the Record' looks at the K1 visa that enabled Tashfeen Malik to enter the US and the background checks that did not capture any red flags


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 4, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We are learning more about this evil killer couple. Syed Farook is an American citizen, but his wife Tashfeen Malik, she came here in a special visa from her fiance American citizen. 

How much screening did she get? Immigration Lawyer Wayne Massey goes ON THE RECORD. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: She was here on what is called a K1 visa. What is that?

MASSEY: The K1 visa is visa used by American citizens who want to bring their fiance to the United States, essentially they petition the government to classify individual abroad as a fiance And the petition goes through, DHS forwards it to the Department of State for an interview.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, in connection with this, I imagine there is some screening. I saw some reference in the State Department they do extensive screening, and I looked a little bit deeper and all that was said was they do fingerprints and some facial recognition software, which is not particularly extensive in my mind. Maybe they do more. Do you know how, "extensive" this screening is?

MASSEY: I have some idea of how extensive it is. Essentially, they run the fingerprints and photograph as you learned on the website. They also run by graphic information about the individual against FBI data bases, international criminal databases, and other databases maintained by various agencies in the U.S. government. If a person has not created a flag in any of those databases, then they wouldn't come up in the security checks obviously.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, I guess -- quibble with the State Department the definition of what is extensive. Basically, a woman with no record can come here on a K1, right, that's essentially what it is.

MASSEY: When you say no record, she has no criminal record of any kind.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there an interview?

MASSEY: There is an interview, yes. So there is an interview at the counselor post. She is interviewed in person after her biometrics have been run, and even after that, I understand she was able to apply for and was granted conditional residence status which means she was also interviewed by DHS here in the United States. There just not have been any flags.

VAN SUSTEREN: She comes to the United States and has to get married within 90 days provided she does she is eligible for a green card.

MASSEY: She is eligible to apply, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea the number of people who come in on these fiance visas a year?

MASSEY: I don't know the exact number, but I think this past year it's somewhere around 35,000.

VAN SUSTEREN: And is there sort of a part of the world where they come from? Do we have -- are these countries that offer us something like a K1 visa, Americans?

MASSEY: I don't know that we have reciprocity with all of them for fiance visas, no. But many of them have diplomatic relations with us obviously, that's why we have counselor posts there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any idea what nations tend to be most represented in terms of K1 visas?

MASSEY: I do not, sorry.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much. I appreciate you.

MASSEY: All right. Thanks for having me.