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Smith: Terrorists Continue to Exploit Immigration Loopholes


Location: Washington, DC

The FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police today arrested a Moroccan man in Washington, D.C. after an investigation into an alleged plot to carry out a suicide attack on the Capitol. Amine el-Khalifi was born in Morocco and entered the United States in June 1999 on a B2 tourism visa. His visa expired in 1999 and he has been living in the U.S. illegally ever since.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the statement below.

Chairman Smith: "Today's thwarted terror plot is a reminder that foreign terrorists will continue to exploit our nation's immigration laws as long as they remain loosely enforced by the Administration. According to the criminal complaint, Amine El Khalifi came to the U.S. in 1999 on a tourist visa and remained illegally after his visa expired.

"This is not the first time a foreign terrorist has used loopholes in our immigration laws to come to the U.S. and plot against innocent Americans. The 9-11 hijackers entered the U.S. after obtaining visas. The Christmas Day bomber was able to board a plane en route to Detroit because he too had a visa. And just last year, a Saudi national in the U.S. on a student visa was charged with the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and is alleged to have listed the home of former President George W. Bush as a target.

"Today's arrest is a victory for our law enforcement community, but a failure of our immigration system. We have not learned the lessons of 9-11. Until we crack down on our immigration laws that allow terrorists to enter and stay in the U.S., history will continue to repeat itself."

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