Politics & Policy

Ted Cruz: Chattanooga Shooting Shows Need for Immigration Overhaul, Arming Military on Bases

(File photo: Mark Wilson/Getty)

Ted Cruz on Friday called for congressional hearings toward allowing members of the armed services to carry guns in military facilities, in the wake of the shooting at a military recruitment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., and said the shooting illustrated the need to fix the immigration laws.

On Thursday, four Marines were killed and three other people were injured when Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire on two military facilities in Chattanooga.

In a statement, Cruz called Abdulazeez’s actions “an act of war,” and said he “was there to carry out jihad, an act of radical Islamic terrorism.”

“While we might wish it otherwise, the forces of radical Islam are at war with us — here and now,” Cruz said, faulting President Barack Obama for describing the shooter as a “lone gunman.”

“In the modern world,” Cruz said, “no one acts in isolation. Through social media ISIS, al Qaida and other groups are infiltrating our nation with impunity while our government will not even admit that radical Islamic terrorism is a problem.”

Cruz said the shooting needs to be acknowledged as a terrorist attack immediately, and called for actions to be taken to allow members of the armed forces to protect themselves against such situations.

#related#“We need to see with clarity what has happened,” Cruz said. “We can immediately call for Congressional hearings on the need for our enlisted men and women to have the right to be armed in military facilities.”

What’s more, Cruz said, the shooting illustrated the need to tighten immigration laws. According to CNN, Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait and had citizenship in Jordan, but had become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

In response, Cruz said, Congress should “pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act that would allow our government to stop Americans who travel overseas to train with terrorist groups from coming back to attack us at home. We can thoroughly overhaul our broken immigration system that is allowing this type of individual to gain citizenship.”

Read Cruz’s full statement below:

Yesterday, members of our armed services in Chattanooga, Tennessee, went to work in the service of our nation. Some went to a recruiting center to assist the young people who, like so many before them, would walk through the door on any given Thursday morning and volunteer to defend the United States of America. Four brave Marines went to a Naval Reserve Center to perform their duties to the Tennessee National Guard.

But one of the young people who visited two of those facilities was not like the others. He was there not to volunteer to serve America, but to attack America. Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez was there to carry out jihad, an act of radical Islamic terrorism. An act of war, in which those four brave Marines lost their lives, while at least two others were wounded.

In the wake of this vicious attack on our nation we need to rid ourselves of two dangerous delusions, first and foremost that a “lone gunman”–as President Obama described the shooter–is somehow isolated from the larger threat of radical Islamic terrorism. In the modern world, no one acts in isolation. Through social media ISIS, al Qaida and other groups are infiltrating our nation with impunity while our government will not even admit that radical Islamic terrorism is a problem.

The second delusion is that this attack is somehow isolated from previous episodes, notably those in Little Rock, Arkansas and Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009—both of which were attacks on American military facilities. The Obama administration was woefully reluctant to call either an act of radical Islamic terrorism, instead suggesting “workplace violence” as a justification for the killings. Finally, after years of effort, the victims of Fort Hood were properly recognized as victims of attacks by foreign terrorists when they received Purple Hearts on April 15, 2015. Likewise, the victim of the Little Rock attack received a Purple Heart on July 1, 2015.

We cannot afford wait six years to recognize what happened yesterday in Chattanooga for what it was. We need to see with clarity right now what has happened. We can immediately hold hearings in the Senate Armed Services Committee on the need for our enlisted men and women to have the right to be armed in military facilities. Congress can pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act that would allow our government to stop Americans who travel overseas to train with terrorist groups from coming back to attack us at home. We can thoroughly overhaul our broken immigration system that is allowing this type of individual to gain citizenship. And we can accept the reality that while we might wish it otherwise, the forces of radical Islam are at war with us.

— Alexis Levinson is the senior political reporter for National Review.