Extreme (Lack of) Vetting by U.S. and Canada Led to Terrorist Attack

Earlier this month, a Somali “refugee” plowed a rented U-Haul truck into a crowd of people near a football stadium in Edmonton, Canada. When the truck rolled over on its side, the terrorist, 30-year-old Abdullahi Hassan Sharif, got out and stabbed an Edmonton police officer who had been injured in the truck attack.

The carnage outside of the football stadium was a direct and avoidable result of politically driven malfeasance – primarily on the part of the Canadian government and, to a lesser extent, the American government. Sharif was in Edmonton because two governments refused to take commonsense precautions to prevent him from being there.

How Sharif got to Edmonton is the real tragedy. Sharif first appeared on the radar scope of law enforcement when he crossed the U.S. border illegally near San Diego without a passport or other documentation. Because there is no functioning government in his homeland of Somalia, the United States could not deport him. Instead he was released from custody on condition that he check-in periodically with U.S. immigration authorities.

Guess what? He didn’t. By the time U.S. officials realized he had absconded, Sharif was already in Canada, where true to Justin Trudeau’s policy of welcoming everybody, he had been granted refugee status. Even though Sharif had no passport, his fingerprints and other biometric information had been collected by U.S. authorities when he arrived in this country. At the time he crossed illegally into Canada, Canadian officials knew that Sharif did not qualify for asylum in the U.S. and would have been deported, except for the fact that there was nowhere to deport him to.

But why should that stop Canada from rolling out the welcome mat, eh?

Well, for one reason, five Canadians might not have to consider themselves “lucky” to have gotten away with just being injured in the attack. The lame excuse for allowing Sharif into Canada offered by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety Mark Holland was that Sharif “had no known criminal history at the time of his encounters with ICE.”

‘No known criminal history’ is an excuse often heard from sanctuary jurisdictions in the U.S., after things go horribly wrong. But as Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm observed, “Common sense tells us it’s possible Sharif had no known criminal history because he came from Somalia, a country with no viable government and thus no one to keep track of crimes.” Or at least it should.

Malcolm’s observation should also remind us that “vetting,” “rigorous vetting” and “extreme vetting,” of refugees from countries without viable governments or functioning civil societies is not as assuring as it might sound.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar


    At least it shows the Canadian Authorities were on him and so the US’s…..

    Somali refugee faces terror charges in Canada stabbing, car attacks
    Ethan Lou
    5 MIN READ
    EDMONTON, Alberta (Reuters) – A Somali refugee who had been on a watch list over extremist views faced five counts of attempted murder and terror charges on Sunday after Canadian police said he stabbed a police officer and ran down four pedestrians with a car in Edmonton, Alberta.

    Edmonton Police investigate at the scene where a man hit pedestrians then flipped the U-Haul truck he was driving, pictured at the intersection at 107 Street and 100th Avenue in front of the Matrix Hotel in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Candace Elliott
    The suspect, a 30-year-old man whom police did not identify,

    had been investigated two years ago for promoting extremist ideology but was not deemed a threat, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.

    RCMP Assistant Commissioner Marlin Degrand said an “exhaustive investigation” into the man in 2015 did not uncover sufficient evidence to pursue charges.

    Canadian media identified the suspect as Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, although Reuters was not immediately able to confirm his identity.

    Police cordoned off an apartment block near downtown Edmonton and plainclothes officers were seen carrying large bags of equipment into the building.

    The attacks in the western Canadian city began when a Chevy Malibu hit a police officer standing in front of a football stadium at about 8:15 p.m. Mountain time on Saturday (10.15 p.m. ET), sending him flying into the air.

    The driver got out of the car and stabbed the officer multiple times before fleeing, according to police accounts and surveillance footage of the incident.

    Police identified the suspect when he was stopped at a checkpoint and his license showed that he was the owner of the Malibu. He fled the checkpoint and was apprehended after a police chase across a downtown street, during which he hit four pedestrians.

    A flag of the Islamic State militant group was found inside the Malibu, said Rod Knecht, police chief of Edmonton, Alberta’s provincial capital.

    Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson told reporters: “To the best of our knowledge, this was a lone-wolf attack. There’s no immediate cause for panic or concern.”

    U.S. national security agencies strongly leaned toward the conclusion that the suspect acted alone, although they were reviewing the matter, a U.S. official told Reuters.

    The police officer, who had stab wounds to the head and face, was released from a hospital on Sunday along with two pedestrians. A third pedestrian was upgraded to stable from critical, while the fourth suffered a fractured skull and had regained consciousness.

    On Sunday, two women were stabbed to death and their assailant shot dead by a soldier in the southern French port city of Marseille in what officials describe as a “likely terrorist act”.


    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the Edmonton attack “another example of the hate that we must remain ever vigilant against.” Canada’s government said it would keep the terrorist threat level at medium, where it has been since late 2014.

    The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council denounced the attack and hundreds attended a Sunday evening rally organized by the group.

    “These types of acts, whether terrorism or not, seek to divide communities. We have to show that’s not going to happen, not in Edmonton,” said group spokesman Aurangzeb Qureshi.

    Canada has been dealing in recent months with a surge in illegal border crossings by people seeking refugee status, which has renewed debate over whether it should tighten its borders.

    The North American country has not experienced as much violence from extremist attacks as the United States and Western European nations, but there have been several deadly incidents in recent years.

    In January, a French-Canadian university student was charged with murder after six people were shot and killed inside a Quebec City mosque, in what Trudeau called “a terrorist attack.”

    In August 2016, Canadian police raided an Ontario home and killed Aaron Driver, who they said was an Islamic State supporter preparing an attack on a Canadian city with a homemade bomb.

    In 2014, Canada was stunned by two deadly attacks that police said were the work of homegrown radicals and led to tougher new anti-terrorism measures.

    A gunman killed a soldier at Ottawa’s national war memorial before launching an attack on the Canadian Parliament in October 2014. In the same week, a man ran down two soldiers in Quebec, killing one.

    In 2015, a videotape attributed to al Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist militant group behind a deadly 2013 attack on a Kenyan shopping center, threatened North American malls, including the West Edmonton Mall.

  2. avatar

    You should get the story straight before publishing, this is how fake news gets a start. Get the facts before you print.

  3. avatar

    The left is now trying to say there’s “no need” for a wall since border crossings have plunged under Trump. Typical disingenuous diversion. The reason crossings have plunged is that people in the countries to the south know that this administration, unlike the last one and to the shock of the left, has decided that you are not going to be allowed to stay even if you have committed “no crime” other than being here illegally. Under Obama deportations from the interior came to all but a standstill. It was get past the border, even if it took you several times, and you were here to stay. In fact, Hillary pledged she would only deport those guilty of a “violent felony”.

    But what happens if the next president is a Democrat. Since the battle for the nomination of that party is now a race to the left, we will have another leader who is essentially open borders. The Democrats position on border security is the same double talk as groups like La Raza. In essence it’s we have a right to enforce our laws and then they go on to tell you that it’s unfair and racist to do so.

    The Democrats have made it clear a thousand times over they cannot be trusted to enforce our immigration laws. That’s why we need a wall, e-verfiy, and all the other enforcement measures that they cannot easily dismantle if and when they should retake the presidency. It’s the responsibility of the GOP to put those things into action. You got elected on that. It’s why a lot of people voted for you mostly on that issue. If you want their votes again, keep your promises.

        • avatar
          Not Politically Correct on

          This was directed at “peter’s” response to Leland of being 100% non-liberal.

          • avatar

            Actually I am liberal on some issues. It just so happens that the Democrats have decided that foreigners have the right to break our immigration laws and that they shouldn’t be deported if they do. Until they correct that I won’t vote for them again. It’s like the old saying, I didn’t change they did. I don’t believe in open borders. It’s the end of this country if we do that.