The U.S. Justice Department on Monday sought to revoke the citizenship of four Minnesotans from Somalia who are accused of defrauding the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program more than a decade ago.
According to four civil complaints filed by Washington, D.C.-based Justice Department attorneys, Fosia Abdi Adan, Ahmed Mohamed Warsame, Mustaf Abdi Adan and Faysal Jama Mire posed as a nuclear family and used false identities in applying for visas.
Before coming to the United States in 2001, Adan, 51, of Eden Prairie, allegedly claimed to be married to Ahmed Mohamed Warsame, 54. According to the complaints, the two also claimed that Mustaf Abdi Adan, 33, and Faysal Jama Mire, 31, were their children.
Adan and Warsame divorced in Minnesota soon after Warsame was admitted as a permanent resident, at which time he also changed his name. Warsame has since been living in St. Cloud and Mustaf Adan and Mire have both been living in Hennepin County.
The Diversity Visa Lottery, which grants visas to a limited number of people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, has been in the spotlight since the Oct. 31 terror attack in New York City by a man who immigrated from Uzbekistan under the program in 2010. President Donald Trump called for the elimination of the program after the attack.
In a statement announcing the Minnesota complaints on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions added that the country's current immigration system is "easily abused by fraudsters and nefarious actors."
"Chain migration," which gives priority for entrance to immigrants with family members, "only multiplies the consequences of this abuse," Sessions said.
Neither defendant could be reached for comment, and they did not have attorneys listed for them as of late Monday.
In the complaint against Adan, attorneys alleged that she engaged in "alien smuggling," rendering her ineligible for naturalization. Each of the four also faces numerous counts that include allegations of illegal procurement of naturalization and lacking valid immigration documents.
The United States is seeking a judgment revoking the four defendants' citizenship and also "forever restraining and enjoining" them from claiming "any rights, privileges, benefits or advantages" under any documentation gained during their initial naturalizations.
According to the affidavit of a Department of State agent assigned to Minneapolis, Warsame omitted a 1996 marriage in Yemen to another woman and details about his biological children.
That woman told fraud investigators in 2010 that she was Warsame's sole marriage and that he had obtained fake marriage documents for himself and Adan, who is a distant relative.
In an interview with the State Department investigator at his St. Cloud home last year, Warsame admitted to posing under a fake name and lying about his marriage to Adan to gain citizenship.
Adan and the two men who claimed to be their children were each cousins of Warsame's, he said. The pair is also accused of falsely claiming a third child, who was denied entry to the U.S.