Congress is demanding that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) release documents detailing how many foreigners seeking asylum in the United States have been found to have ties to terror groups, according to a recent letter sent to the agency by leading lawmakers.
The letter comes on the heels of revelations by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that at least 638 aliens seeking asylum in America have been found to have connections to terrorists.
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This "recent disclosure regarding the numbers of aliens found to have a ‘credible fear’ in cases where the terrorism bar to asylum eligibility may have applied raised the concern that hundreds of known and suspected aliens with terrorist connections may be attempting to take advantage of our country’s asylum system," according to the letter, sent by leaders of four House committees on national security, the judiciary, and government reform.
The USCIS found that "the terrorism bar to asylum eligibility may be applicable to 299 aliens who were found to have a ‘credible fear’ of persecution in the first four months of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, and to 339 aliens who were found to have a ‘credible fear’ in FY 2014," the lawmakers disclosed.
The lawmakers are seeking to obtain from the DHS "key documents" providing further information and transparency about the USCIS’s disclosure. They have given the DHS a June 3 deadline to respond with pertinent information.
These documents include a copy of the files on each of the aliens seeking asylum who also were found to have potential connections to terrorism.
For each of these foreigners, the lawmakers are seeking to discern "whether the alien has been released, and for each alien who has been released, whether the release decision was made by officers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or by an Immigration Judge (IJ) or the Board of Immigration Appeal," according to the letter.
The lawmakers are have asked that DHS brief them about the situation.
Congress has expressed concern for years that foreigners with extremist views could exploit the U.S.’s immigration system in order to gain entrance to the country.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson heightened concerns in December when he revealed that two foreigners tied to terror groups had escaped to Canada after being released from custody by a U.S. judge.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) also has released reports that illegal aliens have been working to bring suspected terrorists into America.
The DPS report "disclosed information about multiple cases of illegal aliens or asylum refugees with terror ties entering the country through Texas," according to Fox News.
The concerns come as Iran has stepped up its presence in Latin America, where it has stationed many agents and other officials. Lawmakers have expressed concern that Iran could plot potential terror attacks on America using resources in the region.