FEBRUARY 25, 2014
A Turkish man denied U.S. asylum after repeatedly furnishing terrorists with “material support” may be eligible to stay in the country after all under a “duress exception,” a federal appellate court has ruled.
The incredible case comes out of New York where the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned an immigration judge’s ruling denying asylum. The decision was subsequently confirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals, the nation’s highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws.
Immigration officials found that the Turkish man, Ramazan Ay, was ineligible for asylum after determining that he provided armed Kurdish terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party with food and clothing on at least four occasions. This is considered material support and an immigration judge agreed with the feds, denying Ay’s asylum request. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the judge’s decision and Ay appealed to the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan.
In a disturbing ruling issued this week, a three-judge panel bought Ay’s argument that he only provided the terrorists support under duress, because he was forced to. Ay also claims that he didn’t really know the armed radicals he fed and clothed were actually terrorists. The federal appellate court believed that explanation as well, therefore determining that Ay may be eligible for asylum under a duress exception to those found guilty of supporting terrorists.
The appellate panel compared this to a 2009 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the government’s refusal to give an Eritrean immigrant asylum because he persecuted people in his native country. Evidently, the man claimed he persecuted others involuntarily, or under duress, and federal authorities failed to take that into consideration. That would essentially change the material support argument because presumably it wasn’t voluntary.
The 2nd Circuit ruling comes on the heels of a preposterous Obama administration order allowing the U.S. to take in once-banned refugees and asylum seekers who have provided “limited material support” to terrorists. The policy reverses the nation’s zero tolerance for any sort of terrorism-related support and changes a law (Immigration and Nationality Act) passed by Congress decades ago to govern immigration and citizenship in the United States.
Showing “duress” is not necessary under the new policy, though it can’t hurt. The new exemptions will grant asylum to individuals who provided small or in inconsequential amounts of support to terrorism without the intent to further any terrorist or violent activities. This includes individuals who, in the ordinary course of business transactions or social interactions, incidentally provided support with no intent of abetting violent or terrorist activity. It also covers humanitarian assistance and support for terrorists “under significant pressure that does not quite rise to the level of duress.”
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