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Department of Justice Files Denaturalization Complaint Against Diversity Visa Recipient
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Department of Justice Files Denaturalization Complaint Against Diversity Visa Recipient Who Transferred Non-Profit Funds to Specially Designated Global Terrorist
The Department of Justice today filed a complaint to revoke the naturalization of a Sudan native—who entered the United States on an F-1 student visa and gained lawful permanent resident status through the diversity visa lottery program—for violating and conspiring to violate sanctions imposed against Iraq under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), as well as obstructing Internal Revenue laws.
According to the complaint, Mubarak Ahmed Hamed violated and conspired to violate sanctions imposed against Iraq under the IEEPA from 1997 through July 21, 2000, the date of his naturalization. As the Executive Director of a non-profit organization, the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), Hamed regularly authorized and transferred tax-exempt funds from IARA accounts in the United States to an account in Jordan controlled by Khalid Al-Sudanee, a/k/a Khalid Ahmad Jumah Al-Sudani, knowing that Al-Sudanee would transport such funds into Iraq.
In 2004, both Al-Sudanee and IARA were designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT). During this time, the IARA implemented projects that were funded by USAID, however there are no specific allegations that such funding was siphoned to Iraq or in violation of the IEEPA.
On June 25, 2010, Hamed pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally transfer more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of federal sanctions, and to obstructing administration of the laws governing tax-exempt charities. Hamed was sentenced to four years and 10 months in federal prison on January 11, 2012.
On Jan. 16, 2018, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security jointly released the “Section 11 Report,” which shined a light on the nation’s current immigration system and how it can be used to undermine national security and public safety. The report revealed—among other statistics—that nearly three out of every four individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts between Sept. 11, 2001 and Dec. 31, 2016 were foreign-born.
“This alleged denaturalization case is indicative that America needs this reform to our broken immigration system now more than ever. Under the guise of running a non-profit to assist in the famine crises in Africa, a ‘Diversity Visa’ recipient allegedly transferred funds on a regular basis to a known terrorist, undermining our nation’s lawful immigration system, public safety, and national security,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Immigration is a national security issue, and a merit-based immigration system would better serve our national interest because it would benefit the American people.”
“The defendant has pleaded guilty to despicable crimes, including the funneling of money to a known terrorist organization, from 1997 through his naturalization as a U.S. citizen in July 2000, all while conveniently failing to disclose his nefarious activities," said Thomas Homan, Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "Plain and simple, if you defraud the U.S government during the naturalization process, you risk having your citizenship revoked.”
“Every visa decision is a national security decision that affects individual Americans. We commend the work of the Department of Justice and look forward to continued coordination with the Department of Homeland Security and the intelligence and law enforcement communities to protect our nation’s borders,” said Assistant Secretary Carl Risch of the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. “Continued efforts to improve interagency security vetting for visa applicants will enhance our ability to identify persons who mean us harm and prevent their entry into the United States.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA), and Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section’s (OIL-DCS) National Security and Affirmative Litigation Unit (NS/A Unit) investigated the case. The case is being litigated by the NS/A Unit with support from ICE OPLA and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri.
The claims made in the complaint are allegations only, and there have been no determinations of liability.