Terrorism-Related Inadmissibilty Grounds

Malkadida Camp in EthiopiaSince 2004 thousands of persecuted refugees in need of protection, who pose no threat to national security, are being denied access to asylum and resettlement in the United States due to the unintended consequences of the overly-broad application of the “material support to terrorist organizations” bar (and related bars) to immigrant admissions.

Ironically, for many of these refugees and asylum seekers, the very circumstances that form the basis on their claim of persecution, have been interpreted in way to deny them entry into the U.S.  Refugees and asylum seekers who are coerced or who have acted under duress are being denied protection by the U.S. government regardless of whether or not the “support” was voluntary.

The overbroad applications of the material support bar has eroded the U.S. refugee resettlement program and placed asylum seekers on hold—and often in prolonged detention.  Moreover, there are thousands of refugee and asylees green card applications “on hold” for material support.  Refugees who were admitted to the U.S. before the government began to apply the material support bar are now afraid to apply for green cards.  Likewise, hundreds of family reunification petitions filed by refugees and asylees for their spouses and minor children are also on hold.

For more information about TRIG, see the USCIS website.

See the RCUSA recommendations related to TRIG:

Terrorism-Related Indamissability Grounds for Refugees and Asylees (TRIG)

To learn more, see these backgrounders and reports:

Addressing Barriers to the Resettlement of Vulnerable Syrian and Other Refugees, Human Rights First

Denial and Delay: The Impact of the Immigration Law's "Terrorism Bars" on Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the United States, Human Rights First

Terrorism Related Inadmissability Grounds Backgrounder (July 28, 2009), RCUSA

Selected Documents Relating to National Security and Counter-Terrorism Relevant to International Refugee Protection, UNHCR



Photo credit: JRS USA/C. Fuchs

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