Officials this week arrested two Iraqi refugees, one in Houston and one in Sacramento, on suspicion of lying about their connections to ISIS.
Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan was arrested in Houston on charges of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization, and making false statements.
Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab of Sacramento was arrested on suspicion of lying to immigration officials about his relationship to ISIS and his travel to Syria.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists.”
He urged President Obama to halt immigration of refugees from terrorist-dominated countries until the U.S. can ensure its vetting process is not letting any actual terrorists in.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick backed up the governor, saying, “This is exactly what we have repeatedly told the Obama administration could happen and why we do not want refugees coming to Texas. There are serious questions about who these people really are, as evidenced by [these] events.”
In the Sacramento case, Al-Jayab is accused of lying to government officials, telling them that he was travelling to Turkey in 2013 and 2014 to visit his grandmother but then going to Syria and joining an ISIS-linked group fighting against the Assad regime.
The American River College student was ordered held without bail on Friday.
Immediately after his hearing, Al-Jayab’s younger brother was also brought into court on charges of possessing stolen goods, cell phones he allegedly purchased from an undercover FBI agent in Milwaukee, where he lived until coming to visit his brother this week. A cousin of the two brothers was also charged in Milwaukee.
The younger brother was released on $25,000 bail and ordered to present himself to Milwaukee officials on Monday.
California officials initially said that Al-Jayab was not planning terrorism. His defense attorney implied the arrest may be “political,” and the local CAIR chapter has claimed no one in the Muslim community knows the young man.
The FBI, however, in an affidavit unsealed in court Friday, said that Al-Jayab and Al Hardan knew each other via social media, and that the Sacramento man had offered in 2013 to train Al Hardan in the fighting skills he learned in Syria, and how to sneak into the country.
The 23-year-old Al-Jayab, who was admitted to the U.S. as a refugee in 2012, bragged on social media about fighting in Syria from age 16. In his various postings, Al-Jayab criticized ISIS for killing Muslims, but then he described fighting along with ISIS members, according to the FBI.
As you can guess, the White House is not commenting on the two ISIS-related cases, and last anyone heard, President Obama was still planning to go full steam ahead with bringing thousands of similarly vetted refugees to the U.S.
While it’s comforting to know the FBI is following up, it would be nice if the president who is supposed to protect this country’s citizens before citizens of other countries would stop ushering in the potential terrorists faster than law enforcement can catch them.