Court blunder freed Iraqi refugee who went on to attempt murder of cop
An Iraqi refugee now charged with attempted murder of a Colorado police officer was actually in ICE custody in 2016 but was ordered released thanks to a court decision that ruled his previous convictions for assault and a host of other crimes weren’t serious enough to deport him.The courts got it wrong. They claimed the law was too vague, but there was nothing vague about Khammasi's crimes spree.
Authorities say Karrar Noaman al Khammasi, charged last week after what police say was a shootout with Colorado Springs officers, could have been ousted from the country during the Obama administration, but for a series of judges’ rulings that set him free to continue a five-year-long crime spree.
His arrest also raises tough questions about the refugee program at a time when the Trump administration is eyeing major new constraints on the number of people let in each year.
Mr. Khammasi was admitted to the U.S. in 2012 as a refugee from Iraq, according to a Homeland Security official.
His first criminal encounters began a year later and he’s totaled at least nine encounters with police, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
Among those were drunken driving, trespassing, assault, extortion and illegally possessing a firearm.
He came across the radar of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in April 2016, when deportation officers put him into removal proceedings. A Homeland Security official said he was ordered deported on June 13, 2016.
But just months the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in an appeal of another deportation case finding the deportation law too vague when it came to defining crimes that rose to the level of getting legal immigrants deported.
After that case, Golicov v. Lynch, the Obama administration decided it’s deportation of Mr. Khammasi would also be overturned, so it reopened the case and released him from custody Nov. 7, 2016, according to a Homeland Security official.
Mr. Khammasi would quickly amass more criminal charges, culminating in last week’s attempted murder allegation.