A congressional hearing has been scheduled for July 13th to investigate lapses in homeland security that allowed two Iraqi refugees who were recently arrested in Bowling Green on terrorism-related charges to live freely in the United States.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pushed for the hearing in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which will focus on how the federal government tracks and prevents terrorists' travel.
"The fact that two Iraqi refugees, one who was previously held for attempting to bomb American troops, were allowed into our country raises many questions about federal immigration policies and their role in protecting our citizens," said Paul, a strident critic of the Patriot Act, a counterterrorism surveillance law.
At issue in the Bowling Green case is a nearly two year gap in connecting fingerprints from a roadside bomb to one of the Iraqi nationals.
Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, were arrested blocks from Paul's Bowling Green offices and indicted recently for plotting to send sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, explosives and money back to their home country to be used in attacks on U.S. troops. The men pleaded not guilty.
The Patriot Act and other laws bar refugees and asylum seekers from living and working in the U.S. if they supported or were members of an armed group in their homelands.
The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that the Bowling Green case highlighted gaps in the screening process for refugees that has since been corrected.