Enas Ibrahim

Vetting Year
Time from U.S. Entry to Discovery
5 years, 5 months*
National Security Crime Type
Nationality of Perpetrator
Immigration Status Type
Refugee classification; Lawful Permanent Residence; Naturalized Citizenship
Agency Responsible for Failure
USCIS for Refugee classification
Opportunities Missed
Nation(s) Vetting Occurred
Arresting Agency
Criminal Charges
Attempt to procure naturalization contrary to law
Case Outcome
Convicted 06/2017 for illegally procuring citizenship
Case Summary

Iraqi citizen Enas Ibrahim entered the United States as a refugee in 2008 with her husband and his brother. They claimed elaborate persecution stories involving victimhood at the hands of al-Qaeda in Iraq and settled in the Fairfax, Va., area.

But USCIS security screeners based in Amman, Jordan, granted their provisional refugee petitions despite discoverable intelligence information from a U.S. military raid in 2005 that recovered Yousif Al-Mashhadani’s fingerprint inside an al-Qaeda bunker where kidnapped westerners were freed, including American contractor Roy Hallums, an FBI complaint affidavit much later revealed. USCIS reviewers in Jordan also missed other ties to the particularly murderous branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

She, her husband Adil, and brother-in-law Yousif hid the existence of a third brother tied even more directly to the raided al-Qaeda bunker. The later FBI investigation in 2016 discovered that in 2004, that brother, Majid Al-Mashhadani, was working with al-Qaeda and helped his terrorist group kidnap Hallums, who was kept for nearly a year blindfolded in a underground torture bunker. When U.S. military forces freed Hallums and other captives in the 2005 raid, they arrested this Al-Mashhadani brother at the site. That brother was imprisoned for two years in Iraq, getting out at about the time the rest of his family was applying for U.S. refugee status in 2007 in next-door Jordan.

Enas Ibrahim participated in family decisions to cover this up and to fabricate terrorist persecution stories to improve their odds of admission as refugees. (In an unrelated matter, Enas also was later found to have falsely overstated her income to qualify for a car loan in Virginia.)

Ultimately, it was the U.S.-based FBI investigation that uncovered not only Yousif’s fingerprint match to the terrorist safe house but also the fact that the third brother, Majid, had been captured in the U.S. raid at the kidnapping lair. It was also the FBI investigation, rather than any routine security screening associated with the refugee or permanent residence applications, that discovered the family’s elaborate lies about having been victimized by terrorists in Iraq.

Was Yousif an al-Qaeda operative who got into America as a refugee? Court records do not elaborate on the meaning behind the Yousif Al-Mashhadani fingerprint. But regardless of whether this refuge-granted brother was a terrorist operative, too, the investigation also found that both brothers, Yousif and Adil, as well as Enas Ibrahim, wittingly covered up their disqualifying relationships to the arrested kidnapper brother on at least two occasions.

The first was during the 2007-2008 USCIS security screening for the provisional refugee applications in Iraq. A second opportunity passed when they secured their change-of-status applications in the United States for lawful permanent residence some months later in 2008, and a third came and went in May 2013 when the trio applied for citizenship. The FBI found the Yousif fingerprint match in a separate investigation six months later, in November 2013.

The misses seemed particularly egregious in light of other information apparently at the fingertips of adjudicators. In his first refugee application, for instance, Hasan filled out a “Worldwide Refugee Admissions Family Tree” report in which he omitted the al-Qaeda Al Mashhadani brother. He also dropped his own “Al Mashhadani” family name as part of the ruse, keeping the alias permanently after they settled in Virginia.

USCIS security screeners who used the family tree report for their approval apparently missed much discoverable derogatory information at their fingertips, judging from court records. For one, a fourth brother identified in court records only as “A.M.”, a ranking Iraqi government official who would have been listed in the family tree document, also applied for refugee status in 2007 and in August of that year provided all of the information about the terrorist brother and fully identified all of his other brothers to USCIS adjudicators. Information that all the brothers were biologically related (one therefore revealed as not listed in applications), nearly a year before Hasan’s application was granted, should have been available through basic fact-finding and would have enabled adjudicators to link them all and find the omission.

Secondly, a fingerprint check of Yousif Al-Mashhadani likely was never conducted as required under post-9/11 security screening reforms. Otherwise, a fingerprint database check should have discovered his fingerprint had been collected from inside the bunker, flagged the refugee applicant as a likely terrorist operative as well, and doomed the initial applications of all of the family members.

Third, the FBI in 2016 found that the persecution stories that she and both brothers initially provided to USCIS adjudicators were riddled with simple discrepancies that seemed easily discoverable. Under FBI questioning about these back-story discrepancies, all were forced to admit to making up the basic facts of their claims years after USCIS adjudicators apparently accepted them at face value. In short, domestic criminal investigations that followed the footsteps of immigration security screening – rather than the other way around – turned up the derogatory information necessary to reveal so many deceits.

Enas was arrested in March 2017, after eight years of ineligible living inside the United States. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, was sentenced to time served and submitted to deportation proceedings.