Grassley requests immigration history of New York bombing suspect

Grassley requests immigration history of New York bombing suspect
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight Dems angered by GOP plan to hold judicial hearings in October American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review MORE (R-Iowa) is asking the Trump administration to provide details on the immigration history of the man accused of carrying out a would-be suicide bombing in a New York City subway passage on Monday.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTucker Carlson says he 'can't really' dine out anymore because people keep yelling at him Top Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem path to a Senate majority narrows MORE and Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser Haley’s exit sends shockwaves through Washington Turkey-Russia Idlib agreement: A lesson for the US MORE, Grassley questioned the process by which Akayed Ullah, 27, was able to enter the U.S., pointing to media reports that he had emigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2011 on a visa for relatives of American citizens.

The suspect's uncle was reportedly a U.S. citizen, who petitioned for Ullah's mother to receive a visa to come to the country. Ullah himself was then granted permission to come to the U.S. 


"If these sources are correct, this further highlights the need to consider whether our country is best served by a family, non-skills based legal immigration system," Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to the Trump officials.

In questions to Nielsen, Grassley requested information on whether Ullah had prior criminal convictions and whether he was on any terrorism watch lists. 

Grassley separately asked Tillerson whether Ullah had applied for or had ever been denied a visa, and requested a timeline of any of Ullah's applications or petitions for visas. 

Ullah was arrested on Monday after he detonated a crude pipe bomb in a tunnel connecting the Times Square subway station and the Port Authority bus terminal. He was badly injured in the explosion, and three other people sustained only mild injuries. No one was killed in the incident.

Ullah said that he had carried out the attack in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria and elsewhere, and said that he chose the subway passageway because of its Christmas-themed posters.

Many Republicans including Grassley have sought to curb so-called chain migration, in which U.S. citizens and permanent residents can sponsor family members in other countries for green cards.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE on Tuesday demanded that Congress end the immigration preferences for family members of permanent U.S. residents, pointing to Monday's attempted bombing and a separate attack last month in New York in making the case for his immigration agenda.