Obama Admin Granted Asylum to 1,519 Foreigners Tied to Terrorism

A disturbing new report obtained by Judicial Watch shows that the Obama administration has granted residency or asylum to 1,519 foreigners who supported terrorism at one time. Apparently, Obama's Homeland Security chief determined that the recently admitted Islamists only participated in terrorist activities “while under duress.”

The Obama administration unilaterally eased restrictions on asylum seekers with loose or incidental ties to terror and insurgent groups in 2014. Prior to that, the foreign nationals would have been banned from the country for supporting terrorist causes.

Judicial Watch obtained the numbers from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) annual report to Congress on the DHS secretary’s application of discretionary authority.

The figures show that USCIS applied exemptions to 1,519 terror-linked foreigners who applied for discretionary relief during fiscal year 2014.

The biggest chunk of exemptions was processed for refugee applicants and lawful permanent resident status, with 806 and 614 respectively. The rest were processed under other DHS programs such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylum and relief through a Justice Department initiative. The bottom line is that the U.S. government is allowing them all to stay in the country with rights and benefits afforded to legal residents despite their terrorist connections and associations.

More than half of the candidates rewarded by DHS last year provided material support to terrorist organizations, according to the DHS report. The others received military-type training from a terrorist organization, voluntarily provided medical care to members of a terrorist group and solicited funds or individuals for membership in a terrorist organization. After a case-by-case review, Obama’s DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson, determined that the recently admitted terrorists only participated in these activities “while under duress.”

The Obama administration's decision to ease the restrictions on asylum seekers came amid a report published in February of 2014 on asylum fraud.

"In light of these and other facts, it is thus deeply alarming that the Obama administration would move unilaterally to relax admissions standards for asylum seekers and potentially numerous other applicants for admission who have possible connections to insurgent or terrorist groups," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said at the time. "We need to tighten security standards for asylum, not relax them even further."

Sessions also objected to the administration unilaterally altering the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"What is the point of Congress passing a law if the administration abuses its 'discretion' to say that law simply no longer applies?" he said.

According to Judicial Watch, a few months after the INS change was exposed, a U.S. senator revealed that the administration seemed to have a terrorist “hands off” list that permitted individuals with extremist ties to enter the country.

The lawmaker obtained the information from internal DHS documents that include communication between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) asking whether to admit an individual with ties to various terrorist groups. The suspect had scheduled an upcoming flight into the U.S. and was believed to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a close associate and supporter Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Obama administration recently announced that it will increase the number of worldwide refugees the United States accepts each year to 100,000 by 2017.