Report: US Gave Egyptian Suspected Murderer Religious Asylum
An Egyptian immigrant charged with the grisly murder of a La Habra boy was granted religious asylum although he was wanted by authorities in his native country for allegedly committing a similar crime, reported Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.
US immigration officials acknowledged that they never checked with Egyptian authorities about John Ghobrial's criminal background. In fact, they told the paper it is long-standing Immigration and Naturalization Service policy not to contact the home countries of asylum applicants for fear that it would endanger them and their families.
With Ghobrial's trial for allegedly killing 12-year-old neighbor Juan Delgado scheduled to begin in August, newly filed court records provide more details about the defendant's journey from a small village in Egypt to the streets of La Habra, where he panhandled for change, said the paper.
The records state that the defendant was arrested on suspicion of molesting and stabbing his 8-year-old cousin in his hometown three years before the US government granted him asylum.
Federal officials said the case is a rare and tragic aberration and stressed that the vast majority of asylum-seekers are honest about their pasts. But some residents in the La Habra neighborhood now wonder whether authorities could have done more.
"Obviously, this case is heart-rending," said INS spokeswoman Virginia Kice. "But you have to understand, if every time someone sought asylum, we then approached the country to get background on the person, that query could put that person in jeopardy."
According to previous reports, the one-armed Egyptian was accused of killing Delgado and dismembering his body before packing it in concrete.
A school detention slip, some school papers and clothing belonging to Juan Delgado were found in a shack being rented by John Ghobrial, who illegally immigrated to the United States in 1996 and was then granted asylum. Ghobrial claied that his right hand and forearm were hacked off by Muslim fundamentalists – Albawaba.com
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