SACRAMENTO, Calif./WASHINGTON - Two men from the Middle East who came to the United States as refugees were arrested on federal terrorism charges in California and Texas for supporting Islamic militant groups, US officials said on Thursday.
They are the latest in a series of similar cases in a US campaign against extremism. Neither man was charged with plotting an attack on the United States. One man was charged with supporting the Islamic State militant group overseas and both were charged with providing false information about their ties to what were described as international terrorist groups.
There have been more than 75 publicized arrests of US residents who have allegedly become radicalized by Muslim militants since 2014.
The men, arrested in Sacramento and Houston, were not involved in a single plot, but they may have been in contact with each other, a source familiar with the two cases said.
Both men are Palestinians who were born in Iraq. The man arrested in Houston, Omar Faraj Saeed Al-Hardan, entered the United States as an Iraqi refugee in November 2009, according to a court document.
In Sacramento, the US Department of Justice said Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, came to the United States in 2012 as a refugee from Syria.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Tea Party Republican, cited the arrest in Houston as a reason why Texas has been seeking to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
"This is exactly what we have repeatedly told the Obama administration could happen and why we do not want refugees coming to Texas. There are serious questions about who these people really are, as evidenced by today's events," Patrick said in a statement.