Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut suggested he would like the United States to move towards a system of “absolutely no screening” for immigrants, while imposing additional gun control measures.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Senator Murphy suggested having “a discussion about a pathway in which there is absolutely no screening” for immigrants entering the United States, citing VISA waiver agreements between the United States and Europe to demonstrate the ability of people to enter the U.S. “without almost any security vet.”
“So, I would go towards a sort of European bent in looking at screening,” he added. “And then maybe let’s just make sure that if folks get to this country, and we suspect them of having connections to terrorism, that they shouldn’t be able to get an assault weapon.”
“That’s a huge liability in our law today.”
Senator Murphy has made no secret of his support for more restrictive gun control measures, leading a 15-hour filibuster on the floor of the Senate to protest a lack of new gun control measures following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.
In the immediate aftermath of the Quebec City mosque shooting, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman joined CNN’s Chris Cuomo to argue in favor of banning those on the terror watch list from being able to purchase a firearm.
“You know what would actually make me feel more secure as an American is if someone who is on our own terror watch list in America–so much so that they cannot board an airplane in this country without being checked–couldn’t buy an “assault weapon.” … That would actually make me feel better,” he said.
Both Friedman and Murphy ignore the Obama administration’s expansion of the terror watch list program, authorizing a process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist.
“Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” said Hina Shamsi, head of the ACLU’s National Security Project.
“On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.”
Even the liberal Huffington Post argued the vague language and lack of concrete evidence required for an individual to be placed on the terror watch list could allow innocent people to find themselves on the list.
“While some individuals are surely placed on these watch lists for valid reasons, the murky language of the guidelines suggests that innocent people can get caught up in this web, too, and be subjected to the same possible restrictions on travel and other forms of monitoring,” Nick Wing wrote for the Huffington Post in 2014.