President Joe Biden’s government has just granted the latest “temporary” stay-of-deportation to thousands of African emigres, this time to Ethiopians inside the United States and including those who recently crossed over the southern border. This comes on the heels of a similar “deferred enforced departure” grant to Liberians living in the United States since two 1990s-era civil wars as well as to Cameroonians and Sudanese. Human rights groups who gained those objectives are also pressuring the administration to protect Mauritanians and Congolese.
These immigration moves should not pass without a remark about America’s sometimes naïve penchant for admitting large populations of people from foreign lands of utter barbarity, with little public assurance that background vetting can prevent the importation of human rights violators and war criminals. Some 40 percent of those reaching the southern border are coming from 150 countries other than Mexico and Central America, a record percentage that includes representation from throughout Africa.
Stepping through the ruins of America’s collapsing southern border and other legal admittance processes are thousands of people from African nations teaming with tribal warlords and vicious armed militias that rape, pillage, plunder, and murder. Perhaps many are actually persecuted victims of these militias.
But “Jungle Jabbah” of Liberia was certainly not one of them. He is on a long and lengthening list of vicious African war criminals that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC) has rousted from U.S. hiding in just the past couple of years, including an Ethiopian living in Georgia who tortured his victims to unconsciousness and was convicted of gross human rights abuses in absentia.
Eating His Victims’ Hearts
His real name is Mohammed Jabbateh, and he had been a resident of Philadelphia for nearly 20 years after arriving from Liberia and claiming asylum in 1998.
He was among thousands of Liberians who fled the wars and resettled in Pennsylvania. But in the life he left in Liberia, Jungle Jabbah served as a commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy during that country’s first civil war, from 1989 to 1997. HRVWCC finally rooted him out. Investigators found that during his “service,” Jabbateh and his soldiers wantonly murdered civilian noncombatants, sexually enslaved women, tortured and executed prisoners of war, desecrated corpses, and ritually ate their victims.
He would have hearts cut from chests and cooked for his soldiers to eat, according to testimony from Jabbateh’s 2017 immigration fraud trial in Pennsylvania. In one instance, fighters under his command murdered a villager, removed his heart, and ordered the town chief’s wife to cook it, then killed the town chief and forced her to cook his heart.
This was the man who easily lied his way on immigration applications to 20 years of sanctuary until ICE’s HRVWCC caught up to him and he landed a 30-year prison sentence in 2019 — at considerable investigative and prosecutorial time and expense to U.S. taxpayers.
He “committed acts of such violence and depravity that they are almost beyond belief,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a 2018 press release announcing the prison sentence for immigration fraud. “This man is responsible for atrocities that will ripple for generations in Liberia.
Men like Jabbateh did not come in through an open southern border but, rather, as refugees who first went through formal vetting processes overseas that clearly failed. The process failed again as he and others later acquired permanent residency green cards and other immigration benefits such as temporary protected status once inside the country. The number of Africans crossing over the border is not publicly known because the Biden administration has discontinued annual nationality breakdowns of illegal immigrants. But on the trails from Panama to Texas over the past two years, I have met U.S.-bound Africans from Liberia, Mauritania, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Burkina Faso, and Angola.
I also have discovered their identification and passports along the Rio Grande at popular crossing points, discarded by those who did not want the Americans to know who they are or where they had been.
Therein lies the risk; whereas Jabbateh and other war criminals like him defeated established rigorous vetting to gain admittance as refugees, those who cross the collapsing border arrive as complete strangers who are admitted with far less vetting.
Men like Jungle Jabbah are, unfortunately, not exactly rare.
According to the HRVWCC website, since 2003, agents have arrested more than 380 individuals for human rights-related violations, and obtained or facilitated removal orders for 903 “known or suspected” human rights violators from the United States.
As of September 2022, the HRVWCC had more than 160 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and was pursuing more than 1,750 leads of suspects from 95 different countries. Over the past year, the center’s investigators have rolled up Rwandan war criminals who got in by simply making up a name and date of birth and a Gambian torturer who was part of a government militia known as “the Junglers.”
In June 2022, Moses Slanger Wright of Philadelphia was indicted for lying all over his refugee and immigration applications for years, most recently in a final citizenship bid. During Liberia’s first civil war, from 1989 to 1997, Wright allegedly served as the “commanding general” in President Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia.
Among other Liberians who lied their way into American sanctuary was “General Dragon Master,” Laye Sekou Camara. He got into the country in 2011 on an asylum claim and won a green card in 2012. A May 2022 indictment accuses Camara of lying on various immigration forms to cover up the fact that he led a brutal rebel group called Liberians United For Reconciliation and Democracy, or LURD, which fought against Taylor in Liberia’s second civil war from 1999 to 2003.
Then there was Eddie Yenner Murphy Karpolah, just deported back to Liberia in June 2022. Murphy was “infamous for forcing children to kill and torture” when he commanded a unit of the so-called National Patriotic Front of Liberia, an ICE statement said.
Liberians, Congolese, Cameroonians, Sierra Leoneans, and More
These Liberians did not even come into the country as complete strangers but, rather, as known applicants for immigration benefits who flew into U.S. airports and could have gone through some small modicum of vetting, like maybe a Google search that would have turned up derogatory information. But they didn’t, and neither did hundreds of others, according to ICE’s human rights violators investigations unit.
Many Africans coming to the U.S. hail from other atrocity-ravaged nations, knowing this administration will let them right in without even identification and probably no real vetting whatsoever.
What’s the problem with granting refuge to people fleeing from terrible places like that? Even when border flows are relatively low and managed, American homeland security agencies are challenged to ever discern persecuted from persecutor.