Six Foreign Nationals with Suspected Terror Ties Came to U.S. Through Visa Lottery

By Melanie Arter | November 14, 2017 | 6:13 PM EST


( - A total of six foreign nationals with suspected terror ties immigrated to the U.S. through the visa lottery, including the man charged with driving a truck into pedestrians and bicyclists in New York City on Halloween, the Trump administration said Tuesday.

Sayfullo Saipov, who immigrated from Uzbekistan and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, was the most recent foreign national with suspected ties to terrorism. Five other foreign nationals also entered the U.S. through the visa lottery program.

Four days before Saipov’s deadly attack, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, who also hails from Uzbekistan, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Oct. 27, after pleading guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State terrorists. The government is planning to send Juraboev back to Uzbekistan once he’s finished serving his sentence.

According to the Justice Department, “Juraboev posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS.”

He told federal agents he believed in ISIS’s agenda, including the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria by force. He said he wanted to travel to Syria to fight on behalf of ISIS, but he didn’t have the means to travel. He also said that if he was not able to travel, “he would engage in an act of martyrdom on U.S. soil if ordered to do so by ISIS, such as killing the President or planting a bomb on Coney Island.”

In 2009, Pakistani national, Syed Haris Ahmed, was convicted of terrorism related activities in the United States and abroad. Ahmed entered the U.S. as a Visa Lottery winner.

Another foreign national with suspected terror ties, Egyptian national Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayet opened fire at the El Al Airlines ticket counter at LAX airport in July 2002, killing two ticket agents and wounding three others. He first arrived in the U.S. in 1992 and obtained his lawful permanent resident status through his wife, who was randomly selected as a visa lottery winner in 1997.

Also in 2002, Pakistani national Imran Mandhai pled guilty in August to conspiring to bomb a National Guard Armory and electrical power substations near Miami. Mandhai immigrated to the U.S. through his parents, who were visa lottery winners.

And  in 1997, Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a U.S. Hamas leader, was deported for terrorist activities. Marzook received a Green Card through the predecessor program to the Visa Lottery.

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