What lessons should be drawn from the NY attack?

WASHINGTON – Attention on Capitol Hill focused on the aftermath of the terror attack that killed eight after a 29-year old Uzbekistani national Sayfullo Saipov plunged a truck into pedestrians in New York on Tuesday. President Donald Trump was quick to slam his political opponents on Twitter and focus the national conversation on immigration, “The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer (D-NY) beauty. I want merit based.” Given the largest terror attack in New York City since September 11, 2001, Jewish Insider asked several Members of Congress what are the appropriate lessons to be learned from this incident?

Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) emphasized that the visa lottery system “needs to be eliminated.  It may have been well intended but it’s simply not proper vetting. The diversity of our country is already clear.” The South Carolina lawmaker praised Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of all nationals interested in entering the U.S. “Even the term lone wolf is misleading. You have that many lone wolves, it means there’s a war,” he added.

However, fellow Republican Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) contended, “I don’t think immigration is going to solve that problem right now,” citing the fact that many of those who carried out attacks have already been residing in the US for many years. “We are going to have to spend more time in chat rooms… I don’t like the idea of someone looking over your shoulder and big brother but it’s almost at the point you have to be more intrusive than you were in the past in terms of all these networks that are breeding these types of individuals,” Cook said.

Across the aisle, Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) seemed to agree with the President that there needed to be closer supervision on immigration into the US, yet urged law enforcement’s focus to be outside of the Middle East. “None of the countries that the ban is on, this young man (Saipov) was not from any of those countries,” Clay explained. “He was from Uzbekistan. Maybe we need to look at the former Soviet Union countries and start limiting their travel into the US. If that is where the Boston Marathon bombers were from, or that geographic area, maybe we need to do a better job of vetting there.”

A member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) emphasized the importance of devoting the country’s resources inwards to best combat the terror threat.  “We’re not doing nearly enough to address (self-radicalization) and counter that propaganda to work with communities to identify folks that may be getting self-radicalized… You look at what happened in Orlando, San Bernardino. Those weren’t immigration issues, those were people who came here legally and became self-radicalized,” Bera concluded.

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