Tun Lon Sein, a newly arrived refugee from Myanmar who was headed for resettlement in New Bern, North Carolina, on a taxpayer-funded flight that began in Thailand, appeared in federal court on Friday.
Sein faced criminal charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly jumped “out of an American Airlines plane Thursday onto the tarmac at Charlotte Douglas Airport” after he tried “to bite [a] flight attendant’s hand,” WSOC TV reported.
“The Episcopal Migration Ministry sponsored Sein’s immigration to the United States. The agency said it’s talking with the law enforcement and the State Department to see what they can do to help,” according to WSOC.
The Episcopal Migration Ministry [EMM] is one of the nine large voluntary agencies [VOLAGs] that are paid more than $1 billion per year by the federal government to resettle refugees in various locations around the United States.
“EMM collaborates with local partner agencies in 27 Episcopal dioceses and 22 states to welcome those fleeing persecution,” according to the IRM website.
“In North Carolina, Episcopal Migration Ministries partners with Interfaith Refugee Ministry. Interfaith Refugee Ministries [IRM] has offices in New Bern and Wilmington and is in the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina,” according to the EMM website.
IRM has resettled refugees in the New Bern area — many of them from Myanmar, also known as Burma — for more than a decade. “Nearly 2,000 Burmese refugees [live] in [New Bern], the picturesque coastal North Carolina town of 30,000, known as the birthplace of cola giant Pepsi,” the New York Daily News reported.
In fiscal year (FY) 2016, 84,995 refugees were resettled in the United States, of which 12,347 were from Burma (Myanmar), according to the Department of State interactive website. With four months remaining in FY 2017, a little more than 45,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States, 4,286 from Burma (Myanmar).
In the decade since FY 2008, more than 150,000 refugees from Burma (Myanmar) have been resettled in the United States. Almost one percent of those refugees, or 1,358, have been resettled in the small city of New Bern, North Carolina, according to the Department of State interactive website.
Tun Lon Sein is not the first refugee from Myanmar brought into the United States by EMM through the federal refugee program for resettlement in New Bern by IRM who has been charged with a crime.
In 2015, an 18-year-old refugee from Myanmar, Eh Lar Doh Htoo, was arrested in New Bern for killing three young brothers, ages 1 to 12, also refugees from Myanmar, with a “machete-like blade.”
“The case is the most unsettled that the DA is facing: not only are there problems of communication with having to use translators who know the Karen dialect, but due to emotional issues Htoo has been declared incompetent to stand trial,” the New Bern Sun Journal reported in February.
“Htoo is currently housed in a medical facility at Central Prison in Raleigh,” the Sun Journal added.
Communication problems are also delaying the prosecution of last week’s case of an alleged crime committed by a refugee from Myanmar.
“Court documents said Sein spoke little to no English, which turned out to be an issue in federal court. The prosecutor said officials couldn’t find an interpreter who could translate Sein’s dialect from his native Myanmar. It will be at least a week before the courts can bring a translator so he will have to stay in jail,” WSOC reported.
Breitbart News asked a spokesperson for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — the office within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for screening applicants to the Refugee Admissions Program — if an initial screening had been conducted of Sein prior to his approval for admission into the U.S. federal refugee resettlement program and if that screening revealed a criminal record, mental health issues, or general health issues in his background.
“USCIS does not provide information regarding individual cases,” a spokesperson for the USCIS told Breitbart News in response.
Breitbart News also asked Susan Husson, executive director of IRM in New Bern, if Sein has family in the area and if she was aware of any background check problems related to Sein prior to his scheduled arrival but did not receive a response.