Reporters challenge Trump administration official on whether there is a link to chain migration and terrorism; USCIS director couldn't answer
Lee Cissna: "Based on my questioning the validity of the premise of your question, I don't know that I want to engage in that dialogue at this time"
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From the December 12 edition of Fox News' Shepard Smith Reporting:
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MARA LIASSON: You just said that because of the criteria, and how low it is, that chain migrant immigrants or diversity lottery immigrants are more susceptible to being self-radicalized. Do you have data on that?
LEE CISSNA: No. What I think that what my point is, is that if you have immigrant visa programs, where the eligibility criteria are low to nonexistent, or even an outright lottery, you're not gonna -- you're not selecting for the types of people -- according to -- that we want in this country, according to criteria that will ensure their success in our nation, that will ensure that they will assimilate well.
LIASSON: I get that as a matter of priority you want to select the immigrants, and not just have them come in. I get that part, but you seem to be saying these kinds of immigrants are more likely to become terrorists.
CISSNA: No, what I'm saying is that if you have a system that doesn't select at all, or is barely selecting anybody, we don't know what we are going to get. It's better if we take an active, affirmative role in our immigration process and establish criteria that correspond to things that we want to see in our immigration pool. Sir, in the back.
REPORTER: Following from that, data shows that immigrants actually commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans. Other than these isolated incidents, is there any data behind this plan?
CISSNA: Well, I don't know that I agree with your first point, I don't know where that data came from, but I can't comment any further.
REPORTER: Incarceration rates would be one example.
CISSNA: That's a bigger debate that I don't know that we have time for here, but based on my questioning the validity of the premise of your question, I don't know that I want to engage in that dialogue at this time.
REPORTER: Will this administration believe that immigrants are more dangerous than U.S. citizens?
CISSNA: I don't know that anybody has said that.