Monday, February 10, 2014

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“Limited” Terrorism Support now Ok in U.S.

(Time of Israel) Obama eases asylum rules for terrorist support – U.S. Administration bypasses Congress to smooth path for those seeking US residence who once gave ‘limited’ support to terror groups

The Obama administration has eased the rules for would-be asylum-seekers, refugees and others who hope to come to the United States or stay here and who gave “limited” support to terrorists or terrorist groups.

The change is one of President Barack Obama’s first actions on immigration since he pledged during his State of the Union address last month to use more executive directives.  The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department now say that people considered to have provided “limited material support” to terrorists or terrorist groups are no longer automatically barred from the United States.

A post-September 11, 2001 terror attack provision in immigrant law, known as terrorism related inadmissibility grounds, had affected anyone considered to have given support. With little exception, the provision has been applied rigidly to those trying to enter the US and those already here but wanting to change their immigration status…

“In the past, the minute your name was associated with a (terrorist) organization you were being punished,” Zahedi said. “Not every act (supporting a terrorist organization) is a terrorist act and you can’t just lump everyone together.”

The Homeland Security Department said …that the rule change, which was announced last week and not made in concert with Congress, gives the government more discretion, but won’t open the country to terrorists or their sympathizers….  In the past, the provision has been criticized for allowing few exemptions beyond providing medical care or acting under duress. The change now allows officials to consider whether the support was not only limited but potentially part of “routine commercial transactions or routine social transactions.”  (Doing business with terrorists is now permitted, yay!)

“Refugee applicants are subject to more security checks than any other category of traveler to the United States,” Homeland Security spokesman Peter Boogaard said. “Nothing in these exemptions changes the rigorous, multilayered security screening we do.”  The change does not specifically address “freedom fighters” who may have fought against an established government, including members of rebel groups who have led revolts in Arab Spring uprisings…

Senator Patrick Leahy (D), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the rule change will help people he described as deserving refugees and asylum-seekers…. He said the previous rule barred applicants for reasons “that no rational person would consider.” (such as supporting a terrorist organization – nothing wrong or irrational about that.)

Republican lawmakers argued that the administration is relaxing rules designed by Congress to protect the country from terrorists.  Representative Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called the change naive given today’s global terrorist threats.  “President Obama should be protecting US citizens rather than taking a chance on those who are aiding and abetting terrorist activity and putting Americans at greater risk,” said Goodlatte.

Supporting terrorists, now ok with the U.S. government.  Being a freedom fighter, maybe ok.  Nothing to worry about here, the U.S. Administration has the best interests of the U.S. at heart.

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