Statistically, about 40% of illegal aliens are people who enter the US legally and then overstay visas. Several of the 9-11 hijackers were that category of illegal alien; they failed to fill out their visa forms properly, were granted visas anyway, and overstayed them up to 9-11-2001. So is Azamat Tazhayakov. He is one of the three men, two of which are citizens of Kazakhstan, arrested this week and charged with helping Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dispose of evidence after the bombing.
Federal authorities on Wednesday arrested three college friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a bombing suspect, including Azamat Tazhayakov, a friend and classmate of Tsarnaev’s at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Tazhayakov left the U.S. in December and returned Jan. 20. But in early January, his student-visa status was terminated because he was academically dismissed from the university, the official told the AP.
The law enforcement official said information about Tazhayakov’s status was in the Homeland Security Department’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, called SEVIS, when Tazhayakov arrived in New York in January.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to discuss details of Tazhayakov’s immigration history.
DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said when Tazhayakov arrived on Jan. 20, Customs and Border Protection officials had not been notified that he was no longer a student.
His ejection from Dartmouth made him an illegal alien. Dartmouth may have failed to alert ICE that his visa was no longer valid. He was allowed back into the country anyway after a trip to Kazakhstan in December 2012. He was picked up and let go on immigration charges in April. Three months after his return to the US, he allegedly played an as yet undetermined role in the April 15 terrorist attack.
This news follows reports that the Russian and Saudi governments had both notified the US government that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had become an Islamist terror threat. The FBI interviewed him, found him not to be a threat, and concluded its investigation.
More than a decade after 9-11, and after billions of dollars spent on homeland “security,” we still haven’t fixed the visa system.