Questions raised over visa program after California attack

The woman who helped to carry out the terrorist massacre in San Bernardino in California with her husband legally immigrated to the United States last year on a special US visa for the fiances of those with citizenship, it has been revealed.

On Friday authorities admitted that 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, a citizen of Pakistan who pledged her allegiance to ISIS on a fake Facebook account just before she and husband Syed Farook attacked a holiday banquet for Farook’s co-workers on Wednesday, had passed a number of background checks. 14 people were massacred before the couple were killed by police in a gun battle. Malik was allowed into the country on a K-1 US visa in July last year, allowing her to travel to the US and marry within 90 days of arriving.

The US government describes the vetting process Malik went through as vigorous, including fingerprints, reviews of her travel history, workplaces and family members, in-person interviews, and checks against terrorist watch lists. The process started when she put in an application for a US visa to come to the country to marry 28-year-old Farook, a Pakistani-American who grew up in Southern California.

The failure of the government to identify Malik’s radical sympathies will be likely to have an impact on the Obama administration’s desire to accept more immigrant refugees from Syria. “Uncle Sam just looks on as an approving cupid and doesn’t pay as much attention as he should to the issuance of these visas,” notes Center for Immigration Studies senior fellow, David North.