The United Nations reportedly helped an “untold number” of fake refugees from Kenya resettle in the U.S.
The fraud apparently went on for years until President Trump was elected in 2016 and soon instituted stricter immigration policies, including “enhanced vetting measures” for refugees from 11 countries including Somalia where many of the “fake” refugees were supposed to be from, according to a CNN report.
Corrupt UN officials were reportedly part of a decades-long operation that helped people from Kenya as they pretended to be Somali refugees to benefit from resettlement opportunities in the U.S.
The “facilitators” or middlemen reportedly made large amounts of money in the process which was “cooked at the UN level.”
“It is at the very beginning of the process — before the applicant even gets to the US embassy vetting, the selection has been done at the UN level,” one facilitator told CNN. “The UN will know the criteria and make sure the paying clients match all the requirements. So, it can be cooked at the UN level.”
“Before the Trump ban it was a booming business,” he said, noting that late 2016 was the last time he took part in the corrupt process which could see clients paying between 10 and 20 thousand US dollars for resettlement. Trump’s “travel ban” in early 2017 presented a challenge to refugee resettlement since it included a moratorium on refugees. Chaos in Somalia pushed many people over the border into Kenya where the refugee camps expanded.
According to CNN:
But as the number of people moving to what was once the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya swelled from thousands, to tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands — there were many who registered as refugees who didn’t qualify…
All told, there are at least 40,000 Kenyans registered as refugees in the Dadaab camps alone, according to both UNHCR and government numbers, in what officials euphemistically term “double registration.”…
UN officials apparently liken the resettlement of refugees to “winning the lottery,” as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimated in excess of 20 million possible resettlement candidates by the end of last year with less than one percent of them resettled in that time.
“Through social media and relatives that stayed behind in Kenya, CNN identified several Kenyans who weren’t supposed to have refugee status that managed not only to register, but to resettle as refugees in Europe, Canada, and the United States,” CNN reported.
“I am not aware of any Kenyans being resettled as refugees,” Fathiaa Abdalla, the UNHCR representative in Kenya, told CNN. “We have a zero-tolerance policy, we have anti-fraud committees, we have anti-fraud focal point in the camps, we have help line for refugees or anyone.”
A spokesman for the US State Department had a similar take on fraud, telling CNN the US has a “zero tolerance policy for fraud, waste and abuse of American taxpayer resources,” and that “the US performs its own detailed interviews and security checks of refugee applicants. This process includes measures to verify the nationality of refugee applicants.”
The CNN report included interviews with anonymous “Somali” refugees who are actually Kenyan, even quoting one person who admitted his father used a fake identity to get his family resettled in the US in the 1990s.
One young Kenyan in his twenties, whose identity was not revealed by CNN “because his attempts to buy resettlement are illegal,” said he and his brother were planning to pay a facilitator $12,000 to get into the US.
“It is wrong, it is wrong, it is wrong,” he said. “But if you can, you can get a better life.”
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