Two Individuals Admitted as Refugees Indicted For Immigration Fraud

Alexander J. Segal's picture

On September 20, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that two refugees were indicted by a federal grand jury in Tuscon, Arizona, on eleven counts “for violations of false swearing in an immigration matter and false statements to a government agency” [PDF version].

According to the indictment, Mohamed Abdirahman Osman and Zeinab Abdirahman Mohamed, were granted refugee status in 2014 while living in China. The two individuals, husband and wife, entered the United States in 2014 and took up residence in Tuscon. In June 2015, they applied for lawful permanent resident status with the USCIS.

The indictment charges that Osman and Mohamed submitted material in support of their applications for refugee status and for lawful permanent resident status that “contained false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements.” The USCIS specifically notes that Osman is alleged to have lied about his true name and nationality, and that he falsely denied his association with members of a designated terrorist organization. The defendants were arrested on August 10, 2018.

The USCIS notes that the serious charges in the indictment raise no inference of guilt. Osman and Mohamed are “presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The lead prosecutor in the case is Beverly K. Anderson, an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) for the District of Arizona, Tuscon.

The charges in this case are extremely serious, and the USCIS likely singled it out for a news alert due to the charges that Osman had concealed his links to a designated terrorist organization. It is important to remember, however, that even forms of fraud that do not so directly implicate national security may lead to severe immigration and, sometimes, criminal consequences. When seeking asylum or refugee protection or any other form of immigration benefits, it is important to be honest in all interviews and filings.

Two Individuals Admitted as Refugees Indicted For Immigration Fraud