Earlier today, the FBI revealed that Tashfeen Malik, the female Muslim immigrant behind the terror attack in San Bernardino, had expressed her allegiance to ISIS in a Facebook post during the attack.
Many on the right will immediately focus on the threat posed by ISIS. And undoubtedly ISIS is a big threat. But as I’ve pointed out before, ISIS is merely the latest reflection of the broader problem: rampant pan-Islamic supremacism throughout the Muslim world inspired by cyber-Jihad. This was unlikely a command-and-control style ISIS attack. This was an attack perpetrated by a Muslim extremist from Pakistan we let in through our front door just last year and granted a green card this past July.
Tashfeen Malik’s role in the San Bernardino attack demonstrates why Islamic immigration in general is more of an existential threat than ISIS infiltration. It is also why vetting for ISIS terrorists is a complete non-sequitur to the issue at hand. Even if these individuals could be vetted for ties to professionally trained terrorists, investigators will miss the majority of Islamic terrorists who have not yet engaged in terror but harbor the views that will come to fruition after settling in America.
There is no way to vet strict Sharia adherence and ascertain if the immigrant truly hates our national and cultural values, or worse, will potentially engage in terror activity. As the Tashfeen story indicates, this is much larger than immigration from Syria or ISIS infiltration. Any number of devout Islamists throughout the Middle East could share the views of ISIS or Al Qaeda; inspiring them to commit terror attacks on our soil once we credulously let them through our front door.
This is the exact modus operandi Al Qaeda has encouraged in their Inspire magazine. They have largely moved beyond command-and-control infiltration attacks and are encouraging individual Jihadis living or emigrating to western countries to carry out attacks. It’s no surprise this terror couple had followed the blueprint of bomb making detailed in Inspire magazine.
Before Thanksgiving, I posted a report showing how we’ve admitted 680,000 immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries in the five years between 2009 and 2013. We also bring in over 150,000 foreign students from that region every single year. The trajectory for both is growing faster than any other origin of immigration.
What is so disconcerting is that the government has not published any data since 2013 and has still refused to release the 2014 DHS yearbook on immigration statistics. So the American people have quite literally no idea how many security threats we have admitted from the Middle East over the past two years. Likewise, the public does not know how many other Tashfeen Malik’s got through the same counter-terrorism screenings she did. There is no monthly data on green cards that is publicly available.
How many more Tashfeens are there among the 200,000 immigrants we’ve admitted from Pakistan since 2001?
Sadly, it appears that Republicans have no intention to address even the Syrian refugee issue in the upcoming budget bill, much less the broader problem of immigration.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.