US eases rule for asylum seekers who support terror groups
The Obama administration has unilaterally eased the rules for would-be asylum-seekers and refugees who the United States says have given “limited material support” to terrorist groups.
The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department now say people with links to terrorists or terrorist groups are no longer automatically banned from entering the United States.
The DHS said in a statement that the rule change, made last week and not in concert with Congress, gives the administration more discretion on immigration.
Under the new rules, people seeking refugee status, asylum and visa, and those who want to expand their visa, still will be checked to make sure they do not pose a threat to national security, the department said.
The move marks one of President Barack Obama’s first steps towards altering immigration rules since promising to take more executive actions in his State of the Union address last month.
A provision in immigrant law, enacted since Sept. 11, 2001, had affected anyone considered to have give support to terrorists.
The new decision could pave the way for networks like the anti-Iran terrorist group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), and al-Qaeda-linked foreign insurgents fighting in Syria to seek asylum in the US.
The US government has already taken the MKO off its terror watch list.