Claiming they are terrorists, Obama Administration no better than Bush on “material support” ban

That is the gist of this article from McClatchy yesterday.  Writing about the material support of terrorism ban, the reporter tells us that the Obama Administration has not taken any steps to ease the rules for immigrants and refugees who may have been forced to help a group deemed a terrorist group at some point in their lives.

I told you about this issue here more than a year ago.  In that post I said I really didn’t understand the issue.  I still don’t.   The problem I have is that in each of these stories we hear from the human rights advocates that the Dept. of Homeland Security is acting frivolously (even now under Obama) and they use cases that are pretty egregious to illustrate their point, but we never hear Homeland Security’s side of the particular case.   I’m thinking there must be more to the story.

From McClatchy:

Alkarim’s [Iraqi artist they are using for illustration] problems have their roots in post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism laws that the Obama and Bush administrations vowed to fix.

Despite that pledge, the number of people who’ve been told their requests for refugee status, asylum or green cards won’t be processed because of the laws has risen from 5,304 in December to 7,286 in June.

The broad language of the Patriot Act and other laws bars refugees and asylum seekers from living and working in the U.S. if they supported or were members of an armed group in their homelands. They’re considered terrorists or supporters of terrorists even if they opposed dictators or helped the U.S. government.

Although Congress has attempted to give the executive branch the power to grant waivers in such cases, the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has yet to set up an efficient way to handle them, refugee advocates say.

“As far as I can tell, the situation has only grown worse,” said Thomas Ragland, a former Justice Department lawyer attorney who now represents several immigrants affected by the laws. Ragland’s clients include an Iraqi, an Ethiopian, a Nepali, and a Burmese. 

Department of Homeland Security officials in charge of reviewing the matter declined a request for an interview.

Matthew Chandler, a DHS spokesman, said the department has granted more than 10,500 waivers to people impacted by the laws, proof that the cases aren’t being ignored.

There is more, read on.

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