A week after a diversity visa lottery recipient murdered eight people in Manhattan, Congress has shown no signs of addressing this dangerous program. However, the Trump administration appears to be taking action.
Earlier today, the DOJ, DHS, and the State Department filed civil complaints in the District of Minnesota against four Somali immigrants who illegally obtained visas through the diversity visa lottery. The complaint states that they “unlawfully, knowingly, and fraudulently represented to immigration officials that they were a family to gain admission to the U.S.” Those individuals were given green cards and eventually obtained U.S. citizenship — all based on fraud. The DOJ is now seeking to denaturalize them.
Fosia Abdi Adan, a native of Somalia, won the diversity visa lottery in 2001 and used her status to smuggle in three other Somalis under a fictitious relationship. She claimed she was the wife of one of the individuals and the mother of the two others. Under the absurd diversity program, winners of the lottery can bring in family members on D-2 visas, all without proper vetting or past ties to our country.
Adan brought in Ahmed Mohamed Warsame, her fictitious husband, along with Mustaf Abdi Adan and Faysal Jama Mire, who were their supposed children, roughly 20 years younger. Adan and Warsame then used their false identities throughout the naturalization process and obtained citizenship in 2006. Once living in Minnesota, they got a “divorce” to cover up their fake marriage. The two “children” were naturalized in 2013 and 2010 respectively. They all live in Minnesota, home to at least 30,000 Somalis. We’ve brought in roughly 130,000 Somalis since 1995, most of them through the refugee program. They have turned out to be one of the most problematic immigration groups we’ve admitted in recent years, with the local U.S. attorney and a federal judge observing a pervasive terror recruiting problem in the greater Minneapolis area with “its tentacles spread out.”
It’s simply preposterous that Somalia would even be on the list of “diversity” countries, given that far from being underrepresented in our immigration system, we’ve had a consistent flow of immigrants from this war-torn Islamic hotbed for 25 years.
The diversity visa lottery has garnered more scrutiny over the past week because the New York vehicular jihadist, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, was a diversity lottery recipient from Uzbekistan. While Saipov had not obtained citizenship, a number of problematic and fraudulent recipients have already become citizens. I’ve heard from many immigration experts that fake marriages have been a common and a known problem plaguing the program for years. And once they become citizens, they bring in more real or fake family members under the general chain migration provisions of our immigration system. This is how the diversity visa lottery spawned large migration from countries that, ironically, were eligible for the program because of their original low immigration rates.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions put out a statement in response to the uncovering of this fraud and noted the problems with fraud and chain migration:
The current immigration system is easily abused by fraudsters and nefarious actors, and that’s certainly true of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. If the fraud is not detected and swift enforcement actions are not taken, chain migration only multiplies the consequences of this abuse. Unfortunately, there are many instances of fraud across our immigration system. The American people deserve a better system that works for them, and the Department of Justice will continue its efforts to deliver one to them.
The Justice Department is now seeking to denaturalize these four Somali nationals. The three who came in based on fraud are retroactively ineligible for citizenship, and the primary lottery winner engaged in illegal alien smuggling, which makes her ineligible for citizenship. Federal law (8 USC 1451(a)) authorizes a court to revoke citizenship through criminal or civil proceedings.
Sessions is right about the rampant fraud in our immigration system. Last year, the DHS inspector general found that 858 criminal aliens from dangerous countries had received citizenship under false names, even though they had already been ordered deported. Very few steps had been taken under the Obama administration to denaturalize these people, much less deport them.
If nothing else, today’s announcement is welcome news because it demonstrates that this administration is using its lawful powers to clean up fraud in the system. It’s now time for Congress to act on a more systemic level.
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.