Immigration officials have a host of factors to consider when reviewing an individual’s application to enter the United States. One would imagine that one factor would be whether or not an individual is facing criminal charges in their home country. Zdenko Jakisa successfully emigrated to the United States in the late 1990s while his criminal case was still pending in Bosnia.
Now, nearly 25 years later, Mr. Jakisa’s past is being investigated. He has been charged with failure to disclose military service and/or crimes committed in Bosnia when he first applied to enter the United States. A federal judge granted bond on Monday, May 12th and he was subsequently released on a $25,000 signature bond with several conditions, pending trial. The primary purpose of a bail bond is allow an individual to be released from detention pending the outcome of their case. U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron agreed to set bond, even against the request of prosecutors, since Mr. Jakisa had traveled to and from Croatia since his investigation opened in 2010.
During the Bosnian war, Jakisa was a member of the armed forces of the Croatian Defense Council and had been charged with crimes including murder; this information that was not disclosed on his refugee and green card applications. At the hearing, a special agent of U.S. Department of Homeland Security added testimony on what may have occurred in Bosnia back in 1993. According to the testimony, Mr. Jakisa was accused of firing an AK-47 assault rifle through the bedroom window of an elderly Serbian neighbor’s house, killing her, and then kidnapping, robbing and assaulting a Bosnian Muslim man who lived with her.
While Mr. Jakisa’s case outcome is unclear, if convicted of the immigration fraud charges pending he will be placed in removal proceedings, will likely lose his residency, then be deported back to Bosnia. How his refuge application and residency was granted is still a mystery, but this case proves the importance of Homeland Security protecting our borders.