Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Jeff Sessions of Alabama continue to push the Obama administration for answers on the rise of homegrown and imported terrorism—an increase the two attribute to increased immigration from jihadi hot spots.
The Republican senators seek more information concerning 113 individuals in the U.S. who, by their count, “have been implicated in Islamic terrorism in some manner since early 2014.”
Cruz and Sessions renewed their call for more information in a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Secretary of State John Kerry.
“We still do not have the requested information—despite the occurrence of terrorist attacks in San Bernardino carried out by a Muslim migrant and the child of Muslim migrants,” they wrote.
Cruz and Sessions say the administration has not been responsive to two different requests.
They say their first letter, sent in August and seeking similar information, went unanswered. And they complain that a second letter in December was ignored even after the San Bernardino terror attack left 14 dead and 22 wounded.
The senators compiled their unofficial list of 113 persons from official documents as part of their campaign to highlight the “astronomical” cost of tracking terror suspects entering the U.S. as immigrants or refugees.
Their new letter draws attention to 14 suspected terrorists who were admitted to the U.S. as refugees. It alludes to other “immigrant terrorists” who entered through other programs and “were even approved for citizenship.” The letter adds:
The U.S. continues to admit approximately 680,000 migrants from Muslim countries every five years. The American people are entitled to information on the immigration history of terrorists seeking to harm them.
The White House has defended current policy as consistent with past immigration precedent.
“In the Muslim immigrant today, we see the Catholic immigrant of a century ago,” President Obama said at a naturalization event last month. “In the Syrian refugee of today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II.”
Cruz and Sessions argue that “the American people are entitled to information on the immigration history of terrorists seeking to harm them.”
Their letter comes on the day Obama is scheduled to deliver his last State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. The president was expected to touch on both immigration and terrorism in those remarks.