Fraud-Ridden Refugee Program May Restart

By Don Barnett on September 24, 2010

Most of the "family reunification" provisions in the U.S. refugee program have been suspended for the past 2 years. The Priority 3 (P-3) resettlement category was closed for refugees since summer 2008 when U.S. officials found that most refugees from Africa using the P-3 program were not related at all. The fraud rate among Somali refugees was reported to be as high as 90 percent.

New regulations to combat fraud in the U.S. State Department program were published in the Federal Register for public comment earlier this month with a 60-day public comment period.

With the refurbished P-3 program, which could be resumed as early as December, a refugee or asylee in the U.S. can petition for refugee admission for a parent and or an unmarried child under 21.

An Affidavit of Relationship must be filed by the anchor relative and DNA evidence of all claimed parent-child relationships must be established. The applicant pays for the test and will be reimbursed if the DNA test validates the claimed relationship.

There are at least two shortcomings with the proposal.

The initial refugee family unit is not verified for relationship.

The initial family in many cases will come over as a husband with one wife, as required by the U.S., but with children from several wives. Much if not most of the current refugee influx is from polygamous societies.

The children from this original family unit could legally bring in their mothers. Presumably this is not a problem for the planners, who may even have designed the program for this outcome. But, since there is no verification of the original family unit, completely unrelated children will come in who then have the right to put their biological parents into the enhanced priority program. These individuals will then be able to legally bring in their other children and their parents who, in turn, can bring in relatives and so on.

The second shortcoming is that the DNA verification program does not cover refugees and asylees who petition for relatives to come over under the I-730 program or non-refugee immigrant categories. An I-730 petition is the far more desirable avenue as it brings the rights and entitlements of refugee status.

So far I-730 is a small program -- about 900 annually according to one source. But programs like these tend to grow. It's worth remembering that asylee numbers went from under 3,000 to 25,000 annually within a generation.

All this is aside from the obvious issues raised by handing over the new "following-to-join" program's implementation to the same transnational network of operators who ran it in its earlier fraudulent incarnation.

As we are about to learn, there are many ways to obtain a positive DNA test in a setting such as our current refugee resettlement program.