A Syrian migrant who walked from Mexico to the Texas border seeking asylum has been charged with using her sister-in-law’s American passport to reach the United States.
Walaa Alrehawi, 27, was detained after border officials in the Rio Grande town of Hidalgo became suspicious, according to court documents.
News of her arrest comes after Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year — up from 70,000 — and that the number will rise to 100,000 in 2017. Many, but not all, of the additional refugees are expected to be Syrian.
President Obama said the White House will let in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees.
Southern District of Texas court documents show that Alrehawi, who arrived at the border as a pedestrian on Sept. 14, was undergoing secondary checks when Customs and Border Protection officers separately brought in U.S. citizen Mohammed Alzalam, 46.
While both at first stated they did not know each other, Alzalam later admitted that Alrehawi was his sister-in-law and that she had used his wife’s U.S. passport to travel from Lebanon to Mexico via Germany, according to the court documents.
Officers were able to reach Alzama’s wife by phone at her home in Philadelphia.
Both were charged on Friday with “willfully” using a U.S. passport intended for somebody else.