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Proposed bipartisan Sen. bill would bolster DHS screening of visas amid concerns of ISIS’ western recruits

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Two senators on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, one Republican and one Democrat, have proposed a bill this week that seeks to bolster the Department of Homeland Security‘s (DHS) visa screening process, amid shared fears of foreign Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists as its caliphate has crumbled, The Hill reports. This move comes after the terrorist organization killed 24 people on Saturday when they bombed an education center in Kabul, Afghanistan and recent fighting between the Taliban and U.S.-backed government forces.

RELATED: U.S. charges two Islamic State terrorists for killing U.S. hostages

The Visa Security Expansion Act, introduced by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the committee’s chair, and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), would have the DHS and the State Department boost the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents at U.S. embassies abroad. These personnel are trained in counterterrorism and assist the State Department in running interviews for non-immigrant visa applicants and deciding which applicants should receive visas.

Sen. Johnson claims that this bipartisan bill will aid national security “by placing agents with subject matter expertise and specialized training at posts deemed to be the highest risk.”

Sen. Hassan echoed this sentiment, stating that this legislation “will help protect us from this threat by expanding the number of counterterrorism agents who aid the State Department in making decisions about whether to grant U.S. visas to foreign nationals.”

“With the fall of ISIS’s caliphate,” she said, “I am deeply concerned about the threat that ISIS foreign fighters, armed with western passports, could pose to our homeland and our allies.”

The bill, per The Hill, would specifically order the DHS and the State Department to hike up the number of these visa security agents each year in at least two U.S. embassies or consulates. Additionally, in order to pay for the new personnel, the bill includes imposing a “security fee” on visa applications from non-immigrants.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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