A man from Saudi Arabia was carrying a pressure cooker when reportedly arrested at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on May 11. Hussain Al Kwawahir flew from his home country and through Amsterdam before reaching the United States. Kwawahir supposedly told law enforcement officials that he was in America to visit a nephew attending the University of Toledo.
Hussain Al Kwawahir was scheduled to appear in federal court on charges related to allegedly lying to a Customs and Border Protection agent. The Saudi Arabian man allegedly told the agent that he had packed a pressure cooker in his luggage as a gift for his nephew because such kitchen devices are illegal in America. Kwawahir’s passport also reportedly had a missing page. Agents feel the tourist may have been using an altered document to gain entry into the United States.
According to a report in the Detroit News, the Saudi Arabian man later changed his story about the pressure cooker. He allegedly told agents that his nephew had actually purchased a pressure cooker, but that it was either broken or cheaply made.
The tourist’s arrest was the second pressure cooker related incident in Michigan in as many days. A college student from Saudi Arabia was reportedly questioned by the FBI after neighbors saw him carrying a pressure cooker on the street. After armed agents surrounded the block where Talal al Rouki lived, they questioned the student about the pressure cooker.
The student had reportedly just finished making a dish called kabsah and was taking the meal to a friend’s house. An FBI agent allegedly told Rouki to be more careful when “moving around with such things.” While this is America and you are entitled to walk around with a pot, pan, or a toaster oven if you so desire, after the Boston Marathon bombing, citizens are more vigilant when looking for dangers lurking in broad daylight.
A person who looks like he (or she) is from one of the Middle Eastern countries which hate America might very well garner more scrutiny when seen with a pressure cooker or any type of possible weapon. The far left would decry such actions as an evil act of profiling, but many patriots would likely consider such a response merely common sense. The FBI followed up on a report, investigated the incident and released the suspect after questioning revealed a crime had not taken place – in other words, the agents did their jobs.
The increased vigilance about the possible terror threats posed by visitors and those holding a student visa is a welcomed change, but is only a narrow patch on a big problem. Although pressure cookers were used to kill and maim a multitude of innocent people at the Boston Marathon, terrorists could just as easily use a different container for their deadly bombs next time.
Our border security and the review of college-age individuals coming to America on a student visa is entirely too lax. Marco Rubio recently had this to say about temporary visas and terrorism concerns:
“I think we need to be open to changes that provide us more security, first and foremost. Student visas are not a right. Student visas are something this country does out of generosity. And therefore we can place whatever restrictions we want on student visas. For example, some of the 9/11 attackers were on student visas. By the way, they had overstayed those student visas. If we have the kind of entry-exit tracking system that I’m calling for, we would have known that they were here overstaying. Right now, we don’t know who the overstays are, because we only know when people come in. We don’t know if they’ve left or not. We have to change that.”
The Department of Homeland Security told the US Customs and Border Protection agency to immediately verify that all foreign students entering the country have a valid visa (file that mandate under “too little too late”). Thoroughly checking student visas upon entry is a of course a good idea, but only one of the steps which need to be taken to combat the drastic national security overhaul that needs to occur.
The student visa check order was reportedly issued after Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhavakov were arrested earlier this month. Both of the 19-year-old students were charged on suspicion of obstruction of justice in relation to the Boston Marathon bombing case. The two young men were allegedly pals of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Kadyrbayev and Tazhavakov were already in custody on suspicion of violating the terms of their student visa when the other federal charges were filed against them. Kadyrbayev was not even enrolled in classes any longer when he was arrested. His attorney, Robert Stahl, stated during an interview with CNN that the young man had not been “regularly” attending classes as mandated by the terms of the visa. Tazhayakov’s registration with the college was reportedly terminated on January 3.
House Committee on Homeland Security chairperson Representative Michael McCaul had this to say about foreign student visas:
“The fact that a foreign national was able to re-enter the US with what appeared to be a valid student visa, while Customs and Border Protection officers were unaware that his visa status had become invalid, represents a serious hole in our national security.”
The lessons of 9/11 have already been forgotten by many lawmakers and federal agency officials. The lack of communication between law enforcement departments was supposed to have been remedied over a decade ago with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. (Instead, HS is buying billions of rounds of ammo and targeting limited-government patriots as extremists.)
Universities are complicit in the visa overstay issue. Colleges enjoy raking in the cash generated by foreign student tuition and should be held accountable for reporting when students overstay their visa or are no longer registered for classes. They have no incentive to report to the US Custom and Border Protection agency when a student is violating the terms of the supposedly temporary visas. If colleges lost the ability to enroll foreign students for neglecting to report a violation of visa terms, school officials would pay far more attention to detail and the country would be a whole lot safer.
Many students come to America to learn and then return to their home countries to put their education to good use. But lives are at stake and we cannot afford to continue on the same naïve and politically-correct path when dealing with border security and the visa overstay problem.