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The focus on the controversial Diversity Immigrant Visa program that came to light after the recent terror attack in New York City has suddenly shifted to Minnesota. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced legal action on Monday to revoke the citizenship of four Minnesotans from Somalia who the Star Tribune reports allegedly entered the country under false pretenses.
According to four civil complaints filed by Washington, D.C.-based Justice Department attorneys, Fosia Abdi Adan, Ahmed Mohamed Warsame, Mustaf Abdi Adan and Faysal Jama Mire posed as a nuclear family and used false identities in applying for visas.
Before coming to the United States in 2001, Adan, 51, of Eden Prairie, allegedly claimed to be married to Ahmed Mohamed Warsame, 54. According to the complaints, the two also claimed that Mustaf Abdi Adan, 33, and Faysal Jama Mire, 31, were their children.
Adan and Warsame divorced in Minnesota soon after Warsame was admitted as a permanent resident, at which time he also changed his name. Warsame has since been living in St. Cloud and Mustaf Adan and Mire have both been living in Hennepin County.
The allegations provide a window into a system Sessions said can be manipulated all too easily.
“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,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The Minnesota defendants had not yet responded to the allegations outlined in the complaint. But the Justice Department’s decision to highlight the case will likely increase calls to reform or scrap the controversial diversity lottery visa program altogether.
The United States is seeking a judgment revoking the four defendants’ citizenship and also “forever restraining and enjoining” them from claiming “any rights, privileges, benefits or advantages” under any documentation gained during their initial naturalizations.
According to the affidavit of a Department of State agent assigned to Minneapolis, Warsame omitted a 1996 marriage in Yemen to another woman and details about his biological children. That woman told fraud investigators in 2010 that she was Warsame’s sole marriage and that he had obtained fake marriage documents for himself and Adan, who is a distant relative.
In an interview with the State Department investigator at his St. Cloud home last year, Warsame admitted to posing under a fake name and lying about his marriage to Adan to gain citizenship. Adan and the two men who claimed to be their children were each cousins of Warsame’s, he said. The pair are also accused of falsely claiming a third child, who was denied entry to the U.S.