Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial: Are there holes in US refugee vetting process?

I’ve marveled from time to time lately about the changes I’m seeing with media coverage of the US Refugee Admissions Program. 

Granted they are tiny changes so far, but at least some media outlets are looking more carefully at a program that NO ONE questioned eleven years ago when I first began writing RRW.

In 2007 any story about refugees was one that evoked warm feelings about the poor, downtrodden and grateful people that nice church folks were welcoming to America.

I called those stories “refugees see first snow stories.”

Omar Abdulsattar Ameen

Imagine my surprise today when I saw this editorial at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the Iraqi refugee (alleged ISIS killer) being arrested in California.

See my previous post on Ameen’s arrest, here.


The times they are a-changin’….

Our combatant: Ameen case shows holes in U.S. refugee program


The arrest of an Iraqi man who was accepted as a refugee in the United States in 2014 and then went back to fight in Iraq for the Islamic State shows that there are serious breaches in the U.S. refugee program.

And it shows that President Donald Trump was right to insist on a higher level of precaution when it comes to opening America’s doors to refugees from a part of the world that is the world’s top exporter of terrorism.

Omar Abdulsattar Ameen wasn’t just a soldier in ISIS; he was a leader, with a history of violent activity. He allegedly shot an Iraqi police officer after the officer was already on the ground—- a cold-blooded execution.

The FBI says it has eight witnesses who identify the Ameen family, including Ameen himself, his father, brothers and paternal cousins, as affiliated with al-Qaida and ISIS. Court records say Ameen helped plant improvised bombs, transported militants, solicited funds, robbed supply trucks and kidnapped drivers on behalf of al-Qaida. A witness quoted by the FBI says Ameen’s vehicle in 2005 was a Kia Sportage flying a black al-Qaida flag with a cut-out roof and a machine gun mounted on the rear.

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To answer the Post-Gazette: In 2017, then FBI director Comey said they were investigating 300 cases of possible terrorists in the refugee flow to the US.

And yet all this escaped the notice of Ameen’s vetters at the U.S. refugee resettlement agency.


Most people spend at least three years being interviewed, undergoing biometric checks and medical exams, and filling out paperwork before being approved for refugee status. Cases are screened by the Department of Defense, FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.

Despite all that, Ameen got in. The question is whether he is a rare aberration in the system or a typical representation of its flaws.

More here.

More cases coming?

By the way, Pittsburgh is a refugee ‘welcoming’ city.  See my Pittsburgh archive by clicking here.

Don’t miss the 2015 post about Pittsburgh’s present mayor wanting Syrian refugees to be placed there.

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