Congolese national Kaseba Katambwa, an ethnic Rwandan, illegally immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1996 on fraudulent identity documents belonging to a dead cousin. In 2009, the British criminal justice system convicted Katambwa of four times raping a 14-year-old girl and sentenced him to serve four terms of 13 years each, concurrently, for a total of 49 years. He also was convicted, in separate related cases, of drunken driving and criminal schemes to acquire property. He gained early prison release in 2017 for unknown reasons and filed an asylum claim in the UK to forestall deportation back to Congo, according to a U.S. sentencing memorandum filed as part of his defense later.
It was denied, and British immigration deported him to Congo. In about March 2018, he flew under a false name and date of birth on a temporary visitor's work visa related to a "non-profit" he created and then filed a U.S. asylum claim, according to defense and government sentencing memoranda in his later U.S. immigration fraud case. After the 90-day visitor's visa expired, in June 2018, he applied for asylum in Bridgeport, Conn., under the same fraudulent identity.
The investigating ICE agent's complaint notes that Katambwa provided fingerprints for this earlier visa. The USCIS visa adjudicator, however, apparently never cross-checked the print in shared databases that would have included the UK, perhaps because Katambwa was not coming directly from the UK and attested that he had been living in Congo continuously since 1969. Still, a cursory database run would have uncovered the fraud at this point.
The U.S. and the UK share sex offender and criminal history databases for immigration security purposes, and by 2018, fingerprint checks in asylum claims were required.
Later, during the investigation, the ICE agent did so and immediately found the match in the UK's shared sex offender database.
A second missed opportunity came and went when a USCIS adjudicator in New Jersey approved Katambwa's asylum application just three months later, in September 2018, under a pressure campaign put on by a Congolese expatriate community in Connecticut. By 2018, fingerprint checks for asylum claimants were required.
But it never happened.
All of his claims were accepted at face value in the absence of a fingerprint check or investigation into his "non-profit". Had the prints been run against all databases, authorities with USCIS would have quickly discovered the false name and birth date, fake persecution story, that he had been living in security for decades in the UK and no Congo, and that he had been convicted of child rape and other criminality.
These two USCIS security vetting failures allowed a convicted serial rapist convicted of fraud elsewhere into the United States. It was an ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation inquiry that discovered the fingerprints matched the rapist convict’s fingerprints in the UK. HSI arrested Katambwa in February 2019 on immigration fraud charges. A judge sentenced him to nine months in prison.