Call for accountability of those who seek to compromise U.S. refugee program integrity

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Representatives John Katko (NY-24) and Michael McCaul (TX-10), the lead Republicans on the House Committee on Homeland Security and House Committee on Foreign Affairs launched an oversight inquiry into an unprecedented insider threat that has compromised the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

These revelations were first brought to light by a recently unsealed DOJ indictment charging three defendants with multiple crimes including conspiracy to defraud the United States Government. Two individuals in question were successfully able to gain employment within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at multiple foreign embassies, and leverage the position of power to deliberately abuse the refugee admissions programs – resulting in individuals being admitted into the United States who would otherwise not have been eligible for the program.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Ranking Members outline their considerable concern that an insider threat of such magnitude ran unnoticed for far too long.  The letter continues to stress that the United States has an obligation to properly vet individuals for both eligibility and national security purposes.

“When employees of the United States Government are abusing their power to undermine the integrity of these critical programs for nefarious purposes, this represents a significant breach of public trust and erosion of homeland security,” said Ranking Member John Katko. “The sophisticated insider threat operation that resulted in dishonest administration of refugee admissions is a stark reminder that these vetting systems demand continuous oversight to close loopholes and strengthen weaknesses. Behavior like this only hurts those refugee applicants who follow the proper legal process. I remain committed to ensuring appropriate measures are being taken at USCIS to address the gaps that led to this criminal activity and any other weaknesses are rectified by the agencies.”

“The accusations in this indictment are very concerning and reveal significant vulnerabilities in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” stated House Foreign Affairs Lead Republican Michael McCaul. “This program is critical and allows those people who are suffering in some of the most war-torn and hunger-riddled parts of the world to strive for a better life, free from fear and persecution. We must maintain the integrity of this program and I hope the Biden Administration quickly answers our urgent questions.”

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