Two Middle Eastern refugees were arrested Thursday on terrorism related charges.
Although the two arrests, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, in Sacramento, Calif. and Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, in Houston, Texas, don’t seem to be connected they bear some striking similarities, CNN reported.
Both of the refugees were men of Palestinian descent who were born in Iraq, had ties to terrorist organizations, made it to the U.S. as refugees and, in what should be a surprise to no one, lied to immigration authorities about those ties, according to CNN.
According to the Justice Department, Hardan came to the U.S. as a refugee from Iraq in 2009 and was given permanent resident status in 2011, and Jayab entered as an Iraq refugee in 2012.
Jayab used social media to brag that he was in Syria fighting for several terrorist organizations between November 2013 and January 2014, according to the criminal complaint.
“While he represented a potential safety threat, there is no indication that he planned any acts of terrorism in this country,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.
Hardan has been charged with providing material support to ISIS, procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully and making false statements while Jayab has been charged with making a false statement involving international terrorism, CNN reported.
If convicted Hardan faces 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine while Jayab could get eight years and a $250,000 fine.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott again called for a halt from countries that are “substantially controlled by terrorists” in a statement released Thursday.
“I once again urge the President to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans,” he wrote.
Watch local news reports of the arrests below.
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