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U.S. eases immigration rule for terrorist support

Outright ban no longer enforced

  • This photo taken Feb. 7, 2014 shows real estate agent Morteza Assadi, 49, in his home in Vienna, Va., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. 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. For Assadi, the law has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    This photo taken Feb. 7, 2014 shows real estate agent Morteza Assadi, 49, in his home in Vienna, Va., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. 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. For Assadi, the law has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • This photo taken Feb. 7, 2014 shows real estate agent Morteza Assadi, 49, in his home in Vienna, Va., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. 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. For Assadi, the law has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    This photo taken Feb. 7, 2014 shows real estate agent Morteza Assadi, 49, in his home in Vienna, Va., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. 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. For Assadi, the law has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • This photo taken Feb. 7, 2014 shows real estate agent Morteza Assadi, 49, in his home in Vienna, Va., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. 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. For Assadi, the law has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • This photo taken Feb. 7, 2014 shows real estate agent Morteza Assadi, 49, in his home in Vienna, Va., Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. 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. For Assadi, the law has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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 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 people considered to have provided “limited material support” to terrorists or terrorist groups are no longer automatically barred from the United States.

A post-Sept. 11, 2001, 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 U.S. and those already here but wanting to change their status.

For Morteza Assadi, a 49-year-old real estate agent in northern Virginia, the law has left him in a sort of immigration purgatory while his green card application has been on hold for more than a decade.

As a teenager in Tehran, Iran, in the early 1980s, Assadi distributed fliers for a mujahedeen group that opposed the government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and was at one time considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Assadi said he told the U.S. government about his activities when he and his wife applied for asylum in the late 1990s. Those requests were later granted and his wife has since become a U.S. citizen. But Assadi’s case has remained stalled.

“When we are teenagers, we have different mindsets,” Assadi said. “I thought, ‘I’m doing my country a favor.’ ”

Assadi said he briefly associated with the group, which was removed from Washington’s list of terrorist organizations in 2012, and that he was never an active member or contributor to its activities. Now he’s hopeful that the U.S. government will look at his teenage activities as “limited.”

His lawyer, Parastoo Zahedi, said she has filed a case in federal court to force U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process Assadi’s green card application but now hopes the government will act on its own.

The Homeland Security Department said in a statement 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. People seeking refugee status, asylum and visas, including those already in the United States, still will be checked to make sure they don’t pose a threat to national security or public safety, the department said.

Legacy Comments1

The US is being run by a dictator and the democrats love it.

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