by David Steinberg, Powerline
On October 22, 2008, the US State Department stopped accepting applications for the Priority 3/Refugee Family Reunification program — the process by which refugees can apply for asylum if one family member is already a legal US resident. State halted the program because DNA testing — primarily of Somalis — had concluded that perhaps 87 percent of applicants were fraudulently claiming family relationships.
Despite continuing war, Somalia of 2008 was not comparable to the open hell of the early 1990s, when an eight year-old Ilhan and her family fled to Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps. She lived there from 1991 until 1995, aged eight to 12. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services then helped Ilhan, her sister Sahra, and their father Nur Said receive asylum in the United States along with thousands of other Somalis.
The complicated moral question of fraud, let alone fault, among this 1990s wave of refugees escaping civil war will never be answered with accurate statistics. We will have to settle for adjectives like “widespread” and “rampant.” Yet the negative outcomes cannot be ignored. Even refugees with strong desire to assimilate with Western civic order are hampered by the possible discovery of conflicting documents. And compromising information becomes leverage in a community already difficult to police.
Twelve year-old Ilhan had no say on the manner in which she arrived in the United States.
However, US Congresswoman Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (D-MN) is now under scrutiny for acts she took beginning in 2009 — not 1995. In 2009, Omar was a 26 year-old US citizen. She had been a US citizen for nearly nine years.
Additionally, the foreign national Omar apparently helped commit fraud was not fleeing hell in 2009, either. Ahmed Nur Said Elmi was a long-time citizen of the United Kingdom. He even possessed a high school diploma from the United States: Elmi attended a St. Paul, Minnesota high school for his senior year of 2002-2003, and graduated before returning to London.
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