Coney Island lawmakers demand homeland security funding
Wednesday’s arrest of three terror suspects from Brooklyn, one of whom told investigators he wanted to bomb Coney Island, is proof that Congress should vote to provide full funding to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to keep the agency from running out of money, according to two local lawmakers.
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Councilmember Mark Treyger, both Democrats who represent Coney Island, issued statements calling on Congress to approve a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and not tie-in the funding bill with a different piece of legislation put forth by Republicans that is aimed at undoing President Barack Obama’s executive action.
Obama’s executive action would grant amnesty to certain undocumented immigrants to protect them from being deported.
The Senate voted Wednesday to separate the two bills so that full funding could be restored to the DHS before the agency runs out on money on Feb. 27. But conservative House members indicated that they wanted the anti-immigration bill and the homeland security funding bill to be packaged together.
Jeffries (D-Brooklyn-Queens) said the fact that three men have been arrested in a terror plot sheds new light on the need for funding.
“This development is a chilling reminder of why we must fund the Department of Homeland Security immediately. These three terror suspects appear to have been plotting to take the lives of innocent Americans, including New Yorkers. The time for political gamesmanship by House Republicans has come to an end,” he said.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the suspects were taken into custody and charged with plotting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
Federal law enforcement officials stated that one of the suspects told them he wanted to shoot Obama or plant a bomb in Coney Island, the AP reported.
One suspect, Akhror Saidakhmetov, was arrested at Kennedy Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, according to authorities. A second suspect, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, was arrested in Brooklyn. He had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month, authorities said.
The third suspect, Abror Habibov, who is accused of helping to fund Saidakhmetov, was taken into custody in Florida.
WNBC-TV reported that two of the suspects are originally from Uzbekistan. The other suspect was born in Kazakhstan, according to the station’s report.
The three suspects have been charged with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said the terror plot should force Congress to put the security of citizens above politics.
“Today’s arrests reinforce the serious and growing threat of terrorism here in Brooklyn and the critical need to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security. It is especially disconcerting to learn that this plot included targeting Coney Island and the innocent New Yorkers who live, work and spent time in this community. Simply put, the decision by some in Congress to put politics before public safety must end now,” Treyger stated.
“I applaud the FBI and NYPD for identifying this threat and stopping these individuals before they could carry out their heinous intentions, and I stand with Rep. Jeffries in demanding that our security agencies receive the funding needed to adequately protect the American public,” Treyger added.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer also issued a statement on the arrests of the terror suspects.
“This foiled ISIS plot sends shivers down the spine of New Yorkers and clearly underscores that we must remain ever-vigilant in the face of terror threats, and that funding our national security must be a top priority of the federal government, at all times. We have the best law enforcement community in the world protecting us each and every day,” Schumer stated.
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