Posted on January 21, 2022

Immigration Experts, Republicans Raise Alarm Over Synagogue Terrorist’s Visa

Joseph Simonson, Washington Free Beacon, January 19, 2022

Republican lawmakers and immigration experts are demanding answers from the Biden administration on how the terrorist who last weekend took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue entered the United States.

U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday that Malik Faisal Akram, who died after law enforcement stormed the Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday, was on an MI5 watch list in 2020. That fact, as well as Akram’s previous arrests, should have blocked his entry into the United States, according to immigration experts and lawmakers.

{snip} In his second month in office, President Joe Biden revoked an executive order from his predecessor that implemented a more rigorous vetting process for visa applicants. {snip}


Details on what kind of visa Akram used to enter the United States remain unclear. A conviction of a crime in the United Kingdom would bar an applicant’s entry into the United States, raising the question of whether Akram lied on his application. Travelers from the United Kingdom usually benefit from the Visa Waiver Program, which allows tourists to travel to the United States with less of a security background check.

The State Department announced in December that it would temporarily waive the interview requirement for roughly 49,000 immigrant visa applications due to the surge of migrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the United States. Shortly after, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would waive the interview requirement for spouses and children of certain migrants who receive work visas.


The BBC reported on Tuesday that British authorities no longer considered Akram a risk when he entered the United States in late December, although he had “previous criminal convictions.” {snip}

“Why was he granted a visa? How did he land at JFK Airport and not get stopped for one second?” Akram’s brother asked in an interview with the New York Times.