Sunday, April 15, 2018

Time for Trump to end fraudulent religious visa program being exploited by radical imams


The following article appeared in LeoHoman.com on April 10th

By Leo Hohman

The number of mosques operating in the United States has exploded by more than 150 percent since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to the point where more than 3,200 now operate in all 50 states.

But who is leading these mosques?
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Almost without fail, the imams in mainline Sunni mosques are not Americans. They come from the Middle East and, to one degree or another, would like to see America transformed into a society more akin to the one they left.

They are on “hijra,” the Arabic term for migration, just as their prophet Muhammad made hijra from Mecca to Medina in the seventh century to spread his new religion and legal system.

While President Trump has talked about gaps in our immigration system with regard to the border wall, the refugee program, the diversity visa lottery and chain migration, he has yet to say anything about what may be the most dangerous open gate of all for Islamic radicals.

The “R” class of visas for so-called religious workers apparently flies completely under the radar of the Trump administration. Shockingly, the number of such visas issued grew during Trump’s first year in office and was 3.7 percent higher than under President Obama’s final year.

The R-1 and R-2 visa programs are operated as if on autopilot by career civil servants working deep within the underbelly of the U.S. State Department. R-1 visas are issued to foreign religious workers, which includes clerics and religious lay persons, while the R-2 visas are given to their spouses and children. These visas carry a 30-month term and can be renewed once for a total of five years. At the end of five years many religious workers have established a work history that allows them to obtain a green card offering permanent legal residency and a pathway to U.S. citizenship.



The last time the government audited the religious-visa program was in 2006 and 2009, and on both occasions it found lots to be concerned about. Fraudulent applications ranged from 30 to 33 percent. [What Do You Do with A Visa Program with A Fraud Rate of 30-33%?, by David North, Center for Immigration Studies, Feb. 4, 2010]

The screening process is relatively light for religious clerics. And there have been some high-profile terrorists slip into the country this way.

Omar Abdul-Rahman, the so-called blind Sheikh and mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing, entered the U.S. from Egypt with an R-1 religious visa.
Abdul-Rahman, the Blind Sheikh

The FBI’s 2004 indictment against the terrorist-fundraising Holy Land Foundation stated that the now defunct charity was largely created by religious leaders who submitted falsified R-1 visa applications on behalf of dozens of Arab immigrants. [Jihadis using Religious Visa to Enter the US, Experts Warn, by Hollie McKay, Fox News, March 14, 2017]

Muhammad Khalil, convicted in 2004, ran a mosque in the basement of a Brooklyn store, from where he filed more than 200 fraudulent applications for fake religious jobs.

Khalil charged $8,000 per application, submitting applications that used fabricated names, fake occupations, non-existent universities and bogus religious training certificates.

Congressman takes lonely stand

But when did fraud and abuse ever stop Congress from funding a popular program? Hence, the “R” visas keep rolling off the printing presses at a rate of nearly 5,000 a year. Apparently, Congress believes there is no reason to worry that the next big terror attack will be inspired by a foreign-trained imam teaching in one of America’s more than 3,200 mosques.

(Article continues HERE)


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