Just recently, two brothers who immigrated to the Portland, Oregon from Iraq back in 2009, were found guilty of ripping off United States taxpayers by engaging in welfare fraud over the course of approximately five years.
Apparently, the two men, who have since been identified as 41-year-old Ali Ratib Daham and 23-year-old Abdulkareem Daham, would let people exchange the credit that they received from government programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for a discounted amount of cash at a halal market that they owned from 2011 to 2016. The liberal media is choosing to ignore the fact that the men were Muslim immigrants.
Disturbingly, though, after being convicted in what the federal prosecutor called “one of the largest, if not the largest, fraud cases involving [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits in [Maine],” both of the immigrants, whose ethnic identification has been largely ignored by multiple news outlets, consequently received a mere slap on the wrist for their halal scam.
Specifically, the older brother, who became naturalized as an American citizen back in 2013, was only given a three years prison sentence for “conspiracy to defraud the US government, money laundering, and theft of government funds” while the younger brother, who will face deportation after serving his time, was sentenced to just two years behind bars for “conspiracy to defraud the government.” Following their sentences, both men will also be on supervised release for three years.
According to reports, federal law enforcement officials first found out about the food stamp fraud from a tip about an “unusually high” amount of sales from food stamps taking place at the Ahram Halal Market.
Upon further investigation, the officials learned that from 2011 to 2016, the two brothers accepted roughly $1.4 million in federal food benefits in exchange for a lesser amount of cash that they could then spend on whatever they wanted. As a result, the shop was subsequently raided and the two men were arrested.
In addition to their prison sentences, the older brother was told to pay $1.4 million in restitution, of which he’s already paid $80,000, while the younger brother, who was equally responsible but had his fine capped, was ordered to pay a maximum of $955,000.
When asked why they decided to defraud US taxpayers out of over a million dollars, the older brother claimed that he was just trying to assist Portland’s immigrant community.
“I came from a country experiencing different wars,” explained Ali Daham while speaking through a translator in court. To clarify, he stated, “the human condition was different. People had to help each other…What I did [here] was in the spirit of providing help for people in the community.”
In an attempt to demonstrate the brothers’ value to the local community so that the judge would be lenient, roughly 72 letters in support of them were submitted to the court. On top of that, during their actual hearing, approximately 60 of their supporters filled the courtroom to watch the trials take place.
Assistant US Attorney James Chapman, however, pushed back against the calls for leniency on the grounds that the two men’s actions had actually hurt countless immigrants in need.
Specifically, during the older brother’s hearing, the attorney claimed that they ended up fueling prejudices against their community by “providing ammunition to those who would seek to restrict welfare benefits.”
Although US District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby largely ignored the calls for leniency, he ultimately refused to give them to the maximum punishment of 5 years behind bars, opting instead to send the older brother to prison for only three years and the younger one to prison for a mere two years.
“[There are] no winners in a case like this,” reasoned Judge Hornby while sentencing the older brother.
“By sentencing two brothers, I realize I’m creating great pain for this family,” he continued.
“I’m also creating great pain for the immigrant community, as many members have told me he was a great helper to them,” added the judge, noting, “sadly, he was a helper to them by defrauding the government.”
Alarmingly, it’s not uncommon for immigrants to commit crimes and harm the culture after arriving in a different country and then receive a light punishment.
Earlier this month, for instance, a 30-year-old asylum seeker in Belgium who had previously been deported and banned for six years was sentenced to a total of only four years behind bars for reportedly kidnapping a 19-year-old woman with mental disabilities. After kidnapping her, he then kept her captive for three days and repeatedly raped her in an attempt to impregnate her with a so-called “anchor baby” so that he could avoid deportation.
Several days prior to that, Karam Majdi, a 19-year-old man who authorities believe traveled from Egypt to United Kingdom (UK) by pretending to be a child who was seeking asylum from Syria, was convicted of viciously raping a young schoolgirl but subsequently sentenced to only three-and-a-half years in prison.
Clearly, while it may be the case that some immigrants are genuinely good people who have quite a bit to contribute to society, this is obviously not the case with every single one of them. Those who enter a country only to break its laws need to be held accountable for their actions and punished as harshly as possible. Unfortunately, though, as seen in the cases mentioned above, this does not appear to be happening consistently enough, which is a major problem that must be fixed.