Well, can you believe it! The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the hometown paper of the Somali capital of the USA, has finally written about the worldwide suspension of the State Department’s P-3 family reunification program—suspended due to widespread fraud in Africa. We told you about this bombshell story two weeks ago. Our very first mention was back in July here, but we didn’t know the full extent of the fraud until recently.
A day late and a dollar short, the Star Tribune published a report yesterday, November 28th, a full 12 days after the little Shelbyville, TN Times Gazette had the scoop. Wouldn’t you think that the Minneapolis paper, in light of the Somali terrorist investigation going on, might have been right on top of this story.
The Star Tribune doesn’t add much more than we already know, but our now favorite Somali mouthpiece is all over this story too. What, don’t you reporters have anyone else you can go to than a Somali guy who was convicted of lying to get into the US? Any chance he might not be straight with you now? Nah! Oh, yes, I forgot, the Star Tribune thinks this is the modern day West Side Story.
Omar Jamal with lots of column inches:
Immigrant groups in the Twin Cities acknowledge that there is occasional fraud — in some cases, money changes hands to claim sponsorship of supposed family members. But they say it is unfair to keep out those who can document they aren’t lying.
“You have a huge number of desperate refugees who are stuck in the middle of nowhere,” said Omar Jamal, president of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in the Twin Cities. “They’re looking for assistance from the United States. It’s very sad.”
Cry me a river!
State Department officials, meanwhile, say they can’t reopen the program until they ensure that it works. No date has been set.
“We have to figure out what the next step is,” said Todd Pierce, a spokesman for the department’s Bureau of Populations, Refugees and Migration. “We’re obligated to make sure it works the way it was supposed to work.”
The State Department and Department of Homeland Security are working together to devise new verification procedures. One proposal would involve more widespread DNA testing. But some officials worry that it could add significantly to the program’s cost. [Edit: so let me understand, it’s cheaper to have the illegals here than to do some advance DNA testing?]
Jamal, who has faced his own legal problems with immigration officials — he was once found guilty of making false statements to enter the U.S. — says that the government’s concerns are overblown.
“I cannot deny there may be some fraud,” he said. “But the policy of shutting the whole program down will hurt huge numbers of innocent, law-abiding people who are in desperate conditions in refugee camps.”
Jamal understands that some of the government’s concern derives from Somalia’s status as a state without a functioning government, riven by warring groups of clans and Islamic militias, some with ties to Al-Qaida.
He, too, has heard of sponsorships being sold to fictitious family members, sometimes for as much as $10,000. But for most, he said, “they are innocent people falling victim.”
So, I’ll ask the same question as one of the commenters asked in the juicy comments section to this story: How many of those fraud cases did you turn in Mr. Jamal?