Omar Ameen came to the U.S. to escape the violence in Iraq. For years, he had been shuttling between safe houses, terrified that armed men would kidnap or kill him for the crimes of his cousin Ghassan, a member of Al Qaeda. “When you want to get revenge, you get revenge on the entire extended family,” says Ameen. His father had been killed by Al Qaeda and one of his brothers had been kidnapped by a Shiite paramilitary group. Ameen was nearly forty, and he had wanted to leave Iraq since childhood.
Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted category of people entering the United States. Candidates are screened by the C.I.A., the N.S.A., the F.B.I., the Department of Defense, and numerous other agencies before they arrive. Only 1% are selected for resettlement in new countries. The process often takes more than a year, and any red flag is ground for rejection, with no further explanation.
Ameen was accused of killing a police officer in Rawah, as part of an isis hit squad, a few months before he entered the United States. The government intended to send him back to Iraq, where he would stand trial for murder. As he began to understand the charge, he was overcome with relief. “I wasn’t even in Iraq at the time of the murder,” he said. “This will be easy.”
The Trump administration created their Muslim ban, trying to create a link between refugees and terrorists and extremism. They were willing to put out false examples to make their stance appear politically tenable.
Omar Ameen has been falsely smeared by the Trump Administration as an Isis commander, framing him with a murder he couldn’t possibly have committed. If sent back to Iraq, he’ll almost certainly be executed. The victim’s family even believes Omar is innocent. Ameen has been in solitary confinement for 1.5 years now and his legal team is fighting for his freedom. The case is ongoing.