Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tells Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in a letter that DHS “missed signs of possible link to terrorism” when it vetted Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan, his mother, and six siblings in 2013.
Artan attacked eleven people with a car and then a knife on November 28 on the campus of Ohio State University before a campus police officer shot and killed him.
“According to sources, Abdul Razak Ali Artan was a lawful permanent resident who originally came to the United States from Mogadishu, Somalia after spending time in a Pakastani refugee camp with his mother, Fatima Abdullahi, and six sibling,” Grassley wrote on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.
“[T]he mother sought asylum in 2013 for herself and seven of her eight children because she feared persecution from ‘Militia and Al-Shabbah.’ She also indicated that her husband was kidnapped, and that her children would be kidnapped and recruited by Al-Shabbah if they remained in Somalia,” the senior Senator from Iowa said records obtained by the Committee showed.
“This information should have caused the asylum officer to conduct additional questioning of the older children to better understand ties to a group that the United States designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2008. Further questioning could have eliminated the possibility that the asylees had dubious ties to the terrorist group and could have allowed for more robust vetting and data collection,” he noted.
“However, although common practice in these cases, no additional questioning was conducted,” Grassley said in the letter.
As Breitbart News reported previously, Artan, his mother, and six siblings arrived in Dallas, Texas on June 5, 2014 on a flight from Islamabad, Pakistan via John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City after their application to participate in the federal refugee resettlement program was accepted. Catholic Charities of Dallas has confirmed it provided them shelter and assistance upon their arrival.
It was the responsibility of Catholic Charities of Dallas as the designated resettlement agency for the family to provide initial resettlement services, paid for by federal taxpayers.
After only 23 days under the care of Catholic Charities of Dallas, however, Artan, his mother and six siblings left Dallas and moved to Columbus, Ohio on June 28, 2014. While it is unusual for newly arrived refugees to become secondary migrants so quickly after their arrival in the country, it is not illegal for them to do so.
Columbus, Ohio has the second largest Somali community in the United States, estimated to total about 45,000. Minneapolis, Minnesota has the largest Somali community in the country, estimated to total about 70,000.
“To better understand the situation, please provide a description of the mother’s and siblings’ immigration history and copies of their alien files,” Grassley asked the Department of Homeland Security Secretary.
That information should include “iany temporary files, working files, and all documents and items contained in them that were generated by DHS or in its possession about them, whether currently in written or electronic form, including, but not limited to, the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Executive Summary, criminal history and immigration summaries, detainers or requests for notification, I-213(s), and Notice(s) to Appear or other charging documents created to seek their removal from the United States,” Grassley said.
Grassley also requested “documentation of the credible fear interview with the mother and her children as well as any other corroborating documentation that was used in reaching the decision to grant refugee status.”
In the letter, Grassley asked Secretary Johnson to respond to the Committee with this information by Wednesday, December 21.
Grassley had previously requested details on Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s criminal history from Secretary Johnson in a letter dated November 29, but apparently has not yet received a response to that inquiry.