San Bernardino Gunman’s Family Members Arrested on Marriage Fraud Charges
On April 28, 2016, San Diego’s local Fox News affiliate, Fox 5, reported, “San Bernardino gunman’s family members arrested on marriage fraud charges.” According to that report, Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of the terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, was arrested by federal authorities. Also arrested were Raheel’s wife, Tatiana Farook, and her sister, Mariya Chernykh, for engaging in a conspiracy with Enrique Marquez, Jr. to obtain immigration benefits, namely lawful immigrant status for Mariya Chernykh.
According to information provided by federal prosecutors, Enrique Marquez, Jr., was paid to engage in a sham marriage with Mariya purely for immigration purposes.
Marquez is currently in custody having been previously charged with providing material support to terrorists and is now also being charged with engaging in marriage fraud.
An AP report posted by WTVM provided more details about this case, noting that allegedly Mariya Chernykh had overstayed a tourist visa in 2009 and wanted to remain in the United States. Both reports stated that there was no information indicating that any of these individuals had prior knowledge of the December 2, 2015, terror attack in which 14 people were slaughtered by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik.
However, the investigation is undoubtedly ongoing and therefore it is premature to arrive at any conclusions about the relationships between the individuals charged with marriage fraud conspiracy and the terror attacks.
Additionally, the New York Post reported that according to officials, “Their phony marriages were the basis for filling out immigration papers, obtaining bank accounts and driver’s licenses.”
Immigration fraud is rarely, if ever, discussed by politicians or by journalists. While much emphasis has been placed on securing the U.S.-Mexican border – a goal that must be attained – there are many other dysfunctional components to the immigration system, and they all have serious national security implications.
Indeed, immigration fraud was an area of particular concern for the 9/11 Commission. Page 45 of the official report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel: Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks,” wrote of the CIA’s findings about the nexus between visas, immigration and terrorism under the heading, Terrorist Entry and Embedding Tactics, 1993 to 2001.
USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is the division of the DHS that is responsible for adjudicating a variety of applications for immigration benefits, including the granting of political asylum and conferring lawful immigrant status and bestowing U.S. citizenship upon aliens. USCIS appears to consider any law enforcement efforts by other components of the DHS to run contrary to their mission of cranking out as many approvals as possible.
I do not make such allegations capriciously. Furthermore, I am not alone in my concerns. On March 18, 2016, FrontPage Magazine posted my article, “Are DHS Leaders Seeking an MVP Award from ISIS? The day after the San Bernardino terror attack, why exactly did USCIS managers block a team of ICE agents from entering their facility?”
My article included a statement posted on the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s website that was titled, “Chairman Johnson Reveals Lack of Cooperation between USCIS and ICE in Aftermath of San Bernardino Attacks.”
Here is the text of Chairman Johnson's statement:
WASHINGTON — Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) revealed the lack of coordination between United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during an incident at the San Bernardino USCIS office the day after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents were alerted by the FBI that Enrique Marquez, who supplied the weapons that Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik used to carry out the attacks in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, 2015, was scheduled for an immigration hearing at USCIS in San Bernardino on Dec. 3, 2015, together with his wife. According to an HSI memo from earlier this year, when HSI agents arrived at the USCIS office to detain Marquez, the USCIS denied the HSI agents entry into the building and later refused to provide relevant immigration documents to HSI.
VIDEO: Watch Sen. Johnson’s remarks here.
He made the statement during a senate hearing that day on the topic, “The Security of U.S. Visa Programs.”
It was reported that the marriage fraud was discovered as a result of the terror investigation. I cannot help but ask if the terror attack could have been discovered before it was carried out if the marriage fraud had been investigated and discovered first.
With America’s national security and American lives hanging in the balance, our government must finally provide meaningful integrity to the entire immigration system. The stakes could not be higher.