December 4, 2015 11:28AM

San Bernardino Shooting Doesn’t Justify Tightening K‑1 Visa

One of the rampage killers in the recent mass-shooting in San Bernardino, California entered on the K-1 visa for fiancés with the intent of marrying her fellow shooter Syed Farook – an American citizen.  From 1989 to 2014, the government issued 512,164 K-1 visas.  According to David North of the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), this is the first potential terrorist to enter the United States on a K-1 visa.

One potential terrorist out of 512,164 K-1 visas issued is not a good reason to tighten that visa’s already rigorous application process. 

In 2015 there have been four mass shooting according to Mother Jones with 37 fatalities and 33 injuries.  Your chance of being killed in a mass shooting in the United States in 2015 is one in 8,617,758.  Your chance of chance of being injured in a mass shooting this year so far is one in 9,662,335.  Your chance of being killed or injured in a mass shooting is one in 4,555,101.       

Your chance of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist in 2015 (so far) is one in 16,781,950, your chance of being wounded is one in 13,863,350, and your chance of being killed or wounded is one in 7,591,835, assuming the broadest possible definition of terrorism committed by an immigrant (Dylan Roof is was born in the United States) on U.S. soil. 

David North at CIS implies that the 99.7 approval rate for the K-1 visa in 2014, which is very high, is evidence of lax visa security.  The K-1 visa requires a lot of documentation and many steps to acquire.  The high approval rate could mean that the process of obtaining a K-1 visa is so onerous that it deters those who intend to commit visa fraud from even trying, instead funneling fraudsters to other visas and the leaving legitimate claimants behind.     

In the debate over reforming the K-1 visa, the relevant metric is the number of K-1 visa beneficiaries who are likely to become terrorists and the degree of damage are they able to cause.  One potential terrorist who entered on a K-1 visa who partners in a single mass shooting, as heinous as that crime is, does not mean that security for the K-1 visa needs strengthening.

 

  K-1 Visas

1989


5,856


1990


6,545


1991


7,458


1992


7,783


1993


8,541


1994


8,124


1995


7,793


1996


9,011


1997


N/A


1998


12,306


1999


15,940


2000


20,558


2001


23,634


2002


27,340


2003


24,643


2004


28,546


2005


32,900


2006


30,021


2007


32,991


2008


29,916


2009


27,754


2010


30,444


2011


24,112


2012


27,977


2013


26,046


2014


35,925

All

512,164

Sources: Yearbook of Immigration Statistics and FY 2014 Nonimmigrant Visas Issued