President Donald Trump called for an end to chain migration Wednesday, while Sen. Lindsey Graham slammed the decision to file federal charges against the New York City terror suspect over designating him as an enemy combatant "a huge mistake."
Trump issued his call on Twitter:
Since Tuesday's attack, which killed eight people and injured nearly a dozen others, President Trump has called for his administration to begin extreme vetting of immigrants seeking to enter the United States and has demanded Congress eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
The suspect in the attack, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, of Paterson, N.J., entered the U.S. in 2010 via the diversity program.
He had come from Uzbekistan.
Saipov, who was shot in the abdomen by a uniformed officer, was charged by federal prosecutors with providing material support to the Islamic State and committing violence and destruction of a motor vehicle, resulting in death.
The charges could bring the death penalty.
However, Graham, the South Carolina Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had called on the Trump administration to declare Saipov an enemy combatant — allowing him to be questioned without a lawyer.
"It appears the Trump administration is continuing the Obama policy of criminalizing the war on terror by not declaring Sayfullo Saipov an enemy combatant," the third-term senator said in a statement.
"It's ridiculous to believe that one day of interviews in a hospital tells us all we need to know about Saipov's terrorist ties," Graham said.
"Now that he's lawyered up, that will likely be the end of intelligence-gathering except through plea bargaining.
"Plea bargaining is a bad way to gather intelligence — not required under the law of war.
"Given the facts, any first-year law school student could obtain a conviction in court," the senator added. "I am more concerned about intelligence gathering to help win a war.
"That is a process which takes time — time which is now lost.
"The Trump administration missed an important opportunity to send a strong message to terrorists and make America safer," Graham said.
"This is a huge mistake. Very sad."
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