Immigration officials failed to sufficiently scrutinize Tashfeen Malik’s petition to enter the U.S. to get married, allowing her in with an unverified assertion from her fiance and untranslated Arabic passport stamps as the only evidence that the couple had spent time together, congressional investigators said Friday.
The findings from an inquiry by the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee underscore the cursory nature of the vetting of the tens of thousands of people who enter the U.S. each year on the so-called fiancee visa. Malik, who died along with her husband in a police shootout after the Dec. 2 rampage that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, came into the U.S. in 2014.
One requirement for being granted entry under the program, officially known as the K-1 visa, is providing proof that the couple have met in person. During Malik’s vetting, an official requested a translation of Arabic writing on her passport stamps that would show that she and her then-fiance, Syed Rizwan Farook, were in Saudi Arabia at the same time in 2013, but there is no record that the translation was done, according to findings from committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that were provided to the Los Angeles Times.
Committee investigators had the passport stamps translated and found that Malik entered Saudi Arabia around June 4, 2013, and left later that year, but the date was illegible. Farook entered Saudi Arabia on Oct. 1, 2013, and left around Oct. 20 of that year, his passport showed. Malik had only a 60-day visa, making it unlikely the two were in the country together, according to Goodlatte, but Saudi officials have said their stay overlapped for about six days.
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