Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley requested information on the Manhattan terrorist’s background in a Wednesday letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department.
The letter requests biographical information on Sayfullo Saipov, who killed eight and injured more than a dozen in a Lower Manhattan vehicle attack Tuesday. The requested information includes his criminal record, immigration history and whether his name appeared on any terrorism watch lists.
“According to reports to my office, Saipov is a lawful permanent resident who immigrated to the United States from Uzbekistan on a diversity visa over five years ago,” the letter reads, referencing a State Department program that annually grants legal status to 50,000 immigrants who hail from countries with historically low U.S. immigration rates. “To confirm this information and better understand what motivated this act of terror, please provide numbered written responses to the following questions no later than November 14, 2017.”
Saipov, who left a handwritten note in his vehicle pledging allegiance to ISIS, was questioned by FBI officials in 2015 after being listed as a point of contact between two suspected ISIS sympathizers. He was never the subject of an investigation himself, according to ABC News.
Grassley’s request for information on the terrorist’s immigration history comes hours after President Donald Trump attacked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for his support of the diversity lottery program.
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
Trump’s claim that Saipov entered the country through the diversity lottery echoes a Tuesday night ABC7 report, which indicated that he utilized the program, but the information has not been confirmed.
Schumer quickly issued a harsh rebuke, lambasting Trump for politicizing the tragedy and calling on him to rescind proposed cuts to anti-terrorism funding.
“President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — antiterrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget,” Schumer said in a statement. “I’m calling on the president to immediately rescind his proposed cuts to this vital antiterrorism funding.”
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