Security and the K 1 Visa by Susan Palmes-Dennis

OPINION
By Susan Palmes Dennis
December 13, 2015

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Charlotte, North Carolina- House Republican leaders announced a new legislative proposal aimed at
boosting national security by changing the nation's visa waiver program. They said the bill would get a
vote by next week.

A counterterrorism task force headed by the Republican committee chairman announced the bill on
Thursday, and predicted it would pass with an overwhelming and bipartisan vote. The bill came on
the heels of the carnage at St. Bernardino, California a week ago resulting to the death of 14 people
and wounding 21 others.

It is the first suspected terrorist attack in US soil after the infamous 9-11 and it kept me thinking about
it for days as it involved the fiancée visa or K 1 Visa. I was reminded of my coming here in the US
under the fiancée visa and because of what happened I recalled the process in my brain. I came to
the US five years and six months ago under the fiancée visa.

A fiancée visa is a visa issued to the prospective wife/husband of an American citizen. It is valid for
90 days after which the petitioned would return to the country of origin if marriage is not
consummated.

It is said to be the easiest visa obtained. The news media had a grand time talking about the fiancée
visa that I was reminded of what happened to me inside the US Embassy and my observation of the
system. The US K1 visa is not broken.

There is no need to fix it despite what happened in San Bernardino but there is a part on the process
overlooked by the US government. Tashfeen Malik, now the most popular Muslim woman of modern
times came to the US on a fiancée visa which I supposed was issued in Pakistan, her country of birth.

Tashfeen was one of the suspects in the San Bernardino carnage and is believed to have influenced
Syed Rizwan Farook, the husband who was born and raised in the US. Many are of the opinion that

Tashfeen radicalized Syed into committing the evil deed they did a week ago. But why did the US
embassy failed to learn that Tashfeen had been to countries suspected of being inhabited by
terrorists or those engaged in the radicalization of Islam?

My take is that in every US embassy there are local employees and it was the local employees who
interviewed, processed the papers and eventually recommending that it reach the US consul. In my
case during my interview, the first two sets of interview were done by Filipinos who were employed by
the US embassy.

These local employees look at the papers like birth certificate, affidavits, other papers, passports.
Those Filipinos who worked with the US embassy worked religiously scrutinizing any mistakes in
spelling, dates and they would be happy to see any discrepancies on documents presented.

And it is when everything is okay with the papers that the applicant is told to proceed to the US
consul. Reaching the consul is no longer a problem. The ambiance is more relaxed just like on my
case. I can remember how strict the Filipino embassy employee was when she interviewed me.

She was so arrogant and asked vicious questions. That time I told myself, what kind of employees
are these? Well now, I can think Filipinos employed at the embassy were doing their job by protecting
US interests.

Was it the same with the local employes at the US embassy in Pakistan who approved Tashfeen’s
papers? Why these local employees failed to detect the places traveled by the petitioned when it can
be seen in the passport or during the interviews?

This I ask on the assumption that there are local employees in the embassy.

In Tashfeen’s case, did the local employees of the embassy commit lapses and failed to see her
connection to ISIS or Al Qaeda? These are among the questions to be asked. I see that in the next
few days those who coming to the US through the K 1 Visa would have a hard time entering the
country and the American citizens would be frustrated with the system.

Personally I see no reason that time and resources would be spent discussing and finding loopholes
in the K 1 visa. It is just simple- ISIS and Al Qaeda have partners and in this case partners within the
system.


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