From his pictures on Facebook, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab looks like any other millenial with a wardrobe of Nike sneakers, Ray-Ban sunglasses and flannel shirts.
But federal officials say the 23 year old was living a double life – one as a refugee starting a new life in America and another as a young man anxious to return to the Middle East to fight in the Syrian Civil War.
The Iraqi-born Palestinian man was arrested Thursday in Sacramento, California on charges he was plotting to travel to Syria to join the al-Nusra Front terrorist organization.
According to a criminal complaint against Al-Jayab, he communicated on social media about his intentions to return to Syria and also lied to citizenship officials about his travels to the country and ties to terrorist organizations.
Meanwhile, another Middle Eastern immigrant named Omar Faraj Saeed al Hardan, 24, was arrested in Houston, Texas on Thursday as well on three charges of trying to provide material support to the Islamic state.
The arrests feed a national debate over whether the United State is doing enough to screen refugees from Syria for terrorists from that nation.
Authorities say there was no indication either man was planning attacks in the United States.
Al Hardan’s arrest sparked immediate criticism of the Obama administration’s refugee policies from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
‘This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists,’ Abbott said in a statement.
‘I once again urge the President to halt the resettlement of these refugees in the United States until there is an effective vetting process that will ensure refugees do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans.’
Both men are Palestinians born in Iraq, authorities said.
The complaint in federal court in Sacramento said Al-Jayab came to the United States from Syria as a refugee in October 2012. While living in Arizona and Wisconsin, he communicated on social media about his intent to return to Syria to fight for terrorist organizations and discussed his previous experience fighting against the regime in Syria.
Read more: Daily Mail