NEW YORK – Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned on Thursday that the US will use “all lawful tools” in the fight against terrorism, adding that authorities are investigating “hundreds of people” who arrived in this country as refugees.
“Our goal is not just to catch terrorists, but to prevent them from striking us,” Sessions said at an official event in New York to explain the government’s measures to confront terrorism.
“And in this fight against terror, we have gotten results,” he added.
Sessions spoke two days after an Uzbek immigrant staged an Islamic State-inspired attack in Manhattan, killing eight people, five of them Argentine citizens, by deliberately running them over with a rented truck on an urban bike path.
In a message to explain the government’s measures to guarantee internal security, the attorney general specifically backed the immigration measures pushed by President Donald Trump.
“The President is determined to keep terrorists and their sympathizers from infiltrating our country,” added Sessions, who noted that since the 9/11 attacks “most of those convicted in our courts for international terrorism-related crimes have been foreign-born.”
He also said that the Department of Justice is investigating “hundreds of people who came here as refugees,” a task on which “enormous manpower and resources” are being expended.
Sessions went on to defend Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he wanted to “abolish the Diversity Visa Lottery” under which the Uzbek attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, entered the US in March 2010.
Trump, Sessions said, wants to replace the Diversity Visa Lottery with a merit-based and “points-based system like is used in Canada and Australia.”
“This is the best way to ensure that the immigration system in America is benefitting America,” the attorney general said.