Ben Carson pointed to the San Bernardino shootings as proof that there are gaps in the U.S. immigration system during a Friday conference in Arizona. According to the Washington Post, the Republican presidential candidate said that shooter Tashfeen Malik’s easy passage through the U.S. visa vetting process should be the “end of the argument” for accepting refugees from Syria.
“If that vetting resulted in missing someone who could carry out such a horrendous crime, that should be the end of the argument right there. We shouldn’t even have to talk about this anymore,” the Republican presidential told the audience at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s summit.
Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, went on a rampage at the Inland Regional Center on Wednesday, fatally shooting 14 and injuring 21 before being killed by police in a shootout on a southern California highway.
A New York Times report found that Malik, who entered the US from Saudi Arabia on a K-1 or “fiancé visa,” passed two rounds of criminal and national security background checks. She was required to submit fingerprints and other identifying information, as well as proof that her relationship was legitimate and that she intended to marry her husband upon arrival in the US.
The checks turned up no details that would indicate she would had any intention of committing what the FBI now says is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
Though the “fiancé” screening is much less rigorous than the multi-year process that refugees must undergo, Carson insisted that allowing refugees into the country endangered American lives.
“If that is not the end of the argument, one would have to be very suspect about the motives of bringing people into this country when we have perfectly reasonable solutions to taking care of them,” Carson said, according to the Post.
The GOP candidate has taken a hardline stance on refugees before, comparing some Syrian refugees to “mad dogs” and saying national security shouldn’t be compromised because US politicians are trying to be “politically correct.”