A former Islamic jihadist who had attempted to blow up a bus in Israel had been granted American citizenship but now faces jail time for being a citizen. Vallmoe Shqaire spent years in an Israeli prison following the attempted bus bombing all the way back in 1988. Shqaire was allegedly acting on the behest of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which at the time was considered a terrorist group.
This conviction should have prevented Shqaire from even entering the United States. Yet in November of 2008, Shqaire’s application for U.S. citizenship was approved; shortly after, he took an oath of allegiance. However, it appears that Shqaire withheld information regarding his alleged role in the bombing and his association with terrorists.
Shqaire was charged this past September for obtaining his American citizenship through illegal means. Prosecutors argue that he intentionally withheld his criminal record and past associations. He has been found guilty of the charges. Shqaire remains free on bail but is due to be sentenced on Friday.
Shqaire was able to obtain citizenship even after the United States strengthened vetting processes in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His case suggests that the vetting process, at least back then, was far from effective. Shqaire was a known commodity; one would think the government could have discovered his status as a convicted terrorist.
Immigration and relations with the Muslim base remain a touchy subject ahead of the 2020 Presidential race. President Donald Trump has moved to restrict travel and immigration from many Muslim countries. Critics argue that his policies will do little to increase security.