Iraqi immigrant detained in Calif. suspected of lying about ties to terror groups

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An Iraqi refugee is being detained in California on charges he lied to immigration authorities over his ties to terror groups before regaining entry into the United States.

Federal Agents in Sacramento arrested Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, an Iraqi-born Palestinian. Al-Jayab allegedly traveled to Syria “to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lied to U.S. authorities about his activities,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a statement.

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab
Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab

According to a report by the Sacramento Bee, the criminal complaint and supporting FBI affidavit say Al-Jayab emigrated from Syria to the United States in October 2012, where he initially lived in Tucson, Ariz., and then moved to Milwaukee before traveling overseas.

The criminal complaint details how the suspect, while he was living in Milwaukee, began communicating with individuals in Syria about traveling there and about his past experience fighting overseas.

“America will not isolate me from my Islamic duty,” Al-Jayab allegedly wrote to an acquaintance on April 8, 2013.

Al-Jayab wrote to another person that he was at a shooting club and wanted to “learn long-range shooting.”

Based upon Al-Jayab’s statements and evidence gathered by federal agents, there is “probable cause to believe” he went to Syria to join the fighting, the criminal complaint says.

Al-Jayab faces up to eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Meanwhile, a second Iraqi refugee was arrested in Texas on similar charges.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, was charged in a three-count indictment with lying to government agents and with providing material support to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), the U.S. attorney’s office in Houston said

The Houston Chronicle quoted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 7 as repeating his call for a refugee ban.

“This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists,” Abbott said in a statement. “I once again urge the president to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans.”