The United States always has been known as a nation of refugees, but at the same time, "very, very tight vetting" is needed to keep out people who want to cause harm if they're allowed in, Rep. Pete King said Wednesday, while responding about the deadly truck attack that killed eight people in New York City.
"We know ISIS wants to infiltrate the country [through] refugees," the New York Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program. "We are a nation of refugees but at the same time we have to very, very, very tight vetting ... we have to have a full-court press all around."
King said he's always believed the United States also needs to have extensive surveillance in the Muslim community, as "that's where the threat is coming from."
"We have to again not be politically correct, not worry about what people will say about us," said King. "Our job is to save American lives."
However, he admitted that it's not known if extreme vetting would have kept Manhattan attack suspect Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native who came to the United States in 2010 through a diversity lottery refugee program.
"We have to go back to 2010," said King. "That's what the FBI and homeland security and NYPD are all doing. They'll go through every bit of his life they can trace. It is possible he came to this country in 2010 with a clean record and no radical leaning and became radicalized after he came to this country."
The investigation could go on for months, said King, and it's important to complete and to know who Saipov has been dealing with, so authorities will know if further attacks are planned.
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