A U.S. visa program designed to temporarily admit religious workers from other countries may be letting jihadists into the country, security experts and religious leaders warn.
The R visa program is for non-immigrant clerics and religious workers and allows successful applicants to stay in the U.S. for up to five years. They are then allowed to apply for a permanent residency under their R-1 status.
But some critics say the visa raises red flags and has long been abused by leaders with extreme views.
"People have come in and tried to come in with this visa to preach their hardline and dangerous views, and then encourage [the] vulnerable to travel back with them where they are further brainwashed and can potentially be used to harm the USA," Adnan Khan, former president of the Council of Pakistan American Affairs, told Fox News. "The solution isn't banning innocent Muslims and migration, but looking at visas like this one which have raised red flags and caused trouble in the past."
Khan also said several letters have been written to federal agencies over the past four years concerning the R program, but they have failed to get a response.