Report: 4K Iraqis Filed Fake Refugee Claims to Enter U.S. Thanks to George W. Bush-Ted Kennedy Program

Darren McCollester/Getty Images
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Roughly 4,000 Iraqi nationals filed fraudulent refugee claims to enter the United States, including about 500 who have already been resettled in the U.S., thanks to a program initially created by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and former President George W. Bush.

Federal investigators believe some 4,000 Iraqis have filed fraudulent refugee applications as they review the cases of about 104,000 Iraqis who sought to enter the U.S. through the Bush-Kennedy “Direct Access” program, a report by Reuters, based on State Department documents, revealed.

The State Department documents show more than 500 Iraqis — among the 4,000 suspected of filing fraudulent applications — have already been resettled in the U.S. as refugees.

In January, the State Department suspended the Bush-Kennedy Direct Access program, which sought to put Iraqis on a fast-track for refugee resettlement so long as they claimed to aid the U.S. armed forces after the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The program was suspended as the Department of Justice (DOJ) charged three individuals with operating a fraud scheme to coach Iraqis through the interview process to obtain fast-track refugee status in the U.S.

Bush created the Direct Access program after signing a Department of Defense (DOD) budget in February 2008 that included the authorization of the program. After failing to get the program, alone, passed through Congress, Kennedy slipped the program’s authorization into the DOD budget.

Even as the fraud refugee scheme has been uncovered, a group of House Republicans and Democrats are asking President Joe Biden to help pass legislation that would fast-track Afghan nationals into the U.S. through the Afghan Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program — a process that was expanded by Bush in 2008.

Over the last 20 years, nearly one million refugees have been resettled in the country. This is a number more than double that of residents living in Miami, Florida, and would be the equivalent of annually adding the population of Pensacola, Florida, to the country.

Refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to research, and each refugee costs taxpayers about $133,000 over the course of their lifetime. Within five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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