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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006


    21 Sep 2015

    McALLEN, Texas – A Syrian woman seeking asylum has been accused of using a fake passport to enter the U.S. through the Texas border. Her American citizen brother-in-law has also been charged in connection with the failed smuggling attempt.

    Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested 27-year-old Walaa Alrehawi and her brother-in-law 46-year-old Mohammad Ziad Alzalam last week in the border city of Hidalgo.

    On Monday, the two went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos, who read them their rights and ordered they be held without bond pending a detention hearing later this week.

    Court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed that Ziad travelled to Beirut, Lebanon, to pick up Alrehawi who has been identified as his sister-in-law. She allegedly used the passport belonging to Ziad’s wife to fly to Frankfurt, Germany. From there, the two flew to the Mexican resort town of Cancun. The duo eventually made their way to the Mexican city of Reynosa and subsequently tried to enter the United States through Hidalgo.

    At the international bridge, Alrehawi arrived identifying herself as a Syrian citizen and requested asylum. Ziad, who is a U.S. citizen, arrived separately trying to enter the country with his American passport. CBP officers pulled the two into a secondary inspection area where they determined that Alrehawi was Ziad’s sister-in-law and that Alrehawi had used a U.S. passport to illegally travel from Lebanon to Europe, and then on to Mexico. The officers charged the two with misuse of a passport.

    As reported by Breitbart News, the ongoing violence in Syria has resulted in thousands of people fleeing the Middle Eastern country in an effort to get to Europe. The growing number of Syrian refugees has resulted in various riots as European authorities work to restore the peace, as well as help those in need.

    Breitbart Texas’ Managing Director Brandon Darby recently reported on Mexico opening the door to Syrian refugees. This brings about the real concern of individuals tied to ISIS being able to exploit Mexico’s limited enforcement of immigration laws in order to use that country as a springboard into the U.S.
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  2. #2
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    No question that the last paragraph in this story will soon be facts aplenty!

  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Charges dropped against Syrian refugee arrested at the Texas border

    Dylan Baddour, Houston Chronicle Updated 3:54 pm, Monday, September 28, 2015

    Federal prosecutors have dropped all charges against a Syrian refugee and her American brother-in-law, who were arrested in September at the Texas border after investigators discovered the pair had fraudulently used a U.S. passport to travel through Europe to Mexico with hopes of reaching the United States.

    A spokesperson for the South District of Texas' Houston headquarters said Monday she could not offer more detail on the dropped charges.

    "We cannot elaborate as to our prosecutorial discretion," she said. A court document filed Sept. 22 said they were dropped "in the interest of justice."

    At the Hidalgo border crossing near McAllen, the 27-year-old woman named Walaa Alrehawi presented her Syrian passport and sought asylum as a refugee on Sept. 14. But immigration officials soon discovered that Alrehawi had used her sister's U.S. passport to board commercial flights out of the Middle East. Her brother-in-law, Mohammad Alzalam, 46, had traveled to Lebanon to deliver Alrehawi her sister's passport.

    More than 4 million Syrians have fled the death and destruction of a four-year war that's cost at least 200,000 lives, according to the New York Times. Their mass migration, along with refugees from war-torn Libya and Iraq, has fueled a crisis in European countries struggling to receive the masses.

    Refugees are defined by the United States government as "people outside of their country who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm."

    Some can afford international travel to escape the war zone. Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection could not immediately say how many Syrians have claimed refugee status at the Texas border, like Alrehawi.

    She entered the border checkpoint with Alzalam, 46, nearby but initially told immigration officials she did not know him. Alzalam said he'd been with his wife in Cancun, but his story sported flaws.

    Upon closer questioning of the two, officials soon identified the cover stories as false, prompting Alzalam to confess. According to a criminal complaint filed Sept. 18 in federal court, Alzalam admitted carrying his wife's U.S. passport to the Middle East to deliver to Alrehawi so that she might travel from Lebanon through Germany and Mexico to the United States.

    Americans can visit Germany and Mexico for months at a time without official permission. Syrians must apply for a visa.

    After a search, immigration officials found Alzalam in possession of his wife's passport. Database queries showed it had been used to travel through Beirut, Frankfurt and Cancun between Sept. 12 and 14, during which time Alzalam's wife remained in Philadelphia.

    Alzalam was charged with unauthorized transfer of a U.S. passport to a non-citizen, and Alrehawi was charged with use of a passport designed for use by someone else, court documents show. Following the arrests, both were held without bond. Now both cases have been dismissed.
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