Immigration judge to rule on Ameen deportation next month

PHOTO: FBI Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A US immigration judge is scheduled to rule on the possible deportation of Omar Ameen, a Sacramento refugee cleared in the 2014 murder of an Iraqi police officer earlier this year, next month.

Ameen was accused of traveling with an ISIS convoy to the officer’s home, opening fire with Kalashnikov rifles, and finishing the man off after a gunfight. Despite supposed eyewitnesses ID’ing Ameen as the convoy’s leader, Ameen’s charges were dropped earlier this year after his defense attorneys obtained cellphone data and tower pings that put him over 500 miles from Iraq in Mersin, Turkey, an hour after the officer’s murder. Federal prosecutors were attempting to extradite him for the case.

Ameen is now back in court for allegedly lying on his refugee application to gain entry to the US – an allegation that was also raised by federal authorities in his murder case. He was taken into custody soon after his federal charges were dropped for allegedly lying about “the most material aspects of his background” in order to gain entry to the US, which prosecutors previously said was an attempt to flee jurisdiction in the police officer’s killing.

Federal prosecutors have said that Ameen “lied repeatedly and profoundly” in order to exploit US laws to obtain refugee status by incorrectly representing his situation in Iraq on seven separate occasions across five years.

According to court papers reviewed by The Update, Ameen allegedly told false stories that his father was murdered and that his brother was kidnapped to several different authorities on several different occasions across the years, later admitting to falsifying them in an interview with investigators.

“The death of Ameen’s father from natural causes is documented by a death certificate obtained from the Rawah hospital,” prosecutors said. “Ameen’s admission that his father died of a stroke and not at the hand of Al Qaeda assassins means that the core of his refugee story is false.”

Ameen’s lawyers, however, say an FBI agent intimidated and coaxed him into making false confessions by invoking the vulnerability of his wife and children.

“The FBI agent repeatedly told Omar that he would not be able to help his family remain in the safety of the U.S. unless Omar makes the agent “believe” and “think” that Omar is telling the full truth,” Ameen’s public defenders wrote in a court filing.

That argument was repeated during Ameen’s testimony before an immigration judge on Thursday, October 14th, according to transcripts released by KCRA 3, who had reporters in the courtroom at the time.

“He was asking me specific questions and wanted specific answers and to agree on everything that he says,” Ameen, who is held at the Golden State Annex detention center in McFarland, said through an interpreter. “And if I did not agree with everything he said he started raising his hand, raising his voice, and threatened my wife and children.”

A judge will rule on Ameen’s deportation on November 16th. If federal officials can prove he lied on his refugee application, he could be sent back to Iraq – a violent and politically unstable country that his attorneys have said could be a “death sentence” for him.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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