Leading senators on Monday petitioned multiple Obama administration agencies to stop stonewalling a congressional investigation into the immigration histories of at least 113 foreign-born individuals implicated in terrorist operations after legally entering the United States, according to a copy of the letters.
The latest investigation comes just days after the Washington Free Beacon disclosed that an additional 41 foreign-born individuals who legally entered the United States had been arrested for planning a number of terror attacks.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) disclosed Monday that they had been pressuring the Obama administration for months to disclose the immigration histories of these foreign-born individuals implicated in terror plots.
Agencies including the Departments of State and Homeland Security have stonewalled these efforts, declining since mid-2015 to provide Congress additional information. This move has prompted speculation among lawmakers that the administration is withholding information to prevent the exposure of major gaps in the U.S. screening process for new immigrants.
"The American people are entitled to information on the immigration history of terrorists seeking to harm them," Cruz and Sessions wrote to the secretaries of State and Homeland Security and the attorney general.
Similar requests for information issued sent in August and again in December have not been answered by the administration
The letter cites a recent Free Beacon report detailing that an additional 41 foreign-born individuals had been snagged on terrorism-related charges since 2014. The disclosure of these previously unknown accused terrorists brings the total number of foreigners brought up on terrorism charges to 113.
Sessions and Cruz note that at least 14 of those foreigners accused of terrorism were granted legal entrance to the United States as refugees.
"Many more came through other immigration programs," they wrote. "A number of immigrant terrorists were even approved for citizenship. Others are the U.S.-born children of foreign migrants whose presence in the country would not be possible but for the immigration of their parents."
Many of these recently implicated foreigners have been caught by authorities planning terrorist attacks on American soil, while others were found to be involved in efforts to provide funding and material to ISIS, according to an internal list of migrant terrorists codified by congressional sources and viewed by the Free Beacon.
Cruz and Sessions are requesting that the agencies in question fill out a chart that includes only partial information about the 113 accused terrorists.
A senior congressional aide familiar with the investigation said the soaring rate of immigration is taking a toll on the U.S. security establishment.
"The cost of high rates of Muslim immigration are clear: enormous security challenges combined with vast expenses to track and convict those here attempting to wound Americans," the source said.
The letter comes amid a debate over immigration and an Obama administration plan to boost the number of refugees granted residence in the United States. Under the administration’s plan, an additional 170,000 new migrants from Muslim-majority countries will enter the country in 2016.
As these agencies continue to ignore requests for information, the senators blasted the Obama administration for "continuing to stonewall the request even after a follow-up letter was sent subsequent to the San Bernardino terrorist attack."
The administration has still not provided senators further information about the immigration histories of the two attackers who went on a shooting spree late last year in San Bernardino, California.
After the attack, it was discovered that both had legally immigrated to the United States, despite expressing support on social media for ISIS.
Last week, the Justice Department indicted two Iraqi refugees living in the United States legally of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.
Additionally, a Philadelphia police officer was ambushed by an assailant sporting "Muslim garb and wearing a mask," according to local reports. It was later determined that the individual had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The United States has issued 680,000 green cards to immigrants from Muslim-majority nations during the past five years.
UPDATE: 2:57 p.m. This piece had been updated to include additional statistics concerning immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
Published under: Barack Obama , Immigration , ISIS , Jeff Sessions , Terrorism