DHS’s June 8th Determination on Terrorist Organizations
On June 8, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security announced that they would be amending the regulations governing the individuals who are deemed inadmissible due to membership in terrorist organizations. To that end, on June 23, 2022, DHS issued a Notice of Determination stating that the existing bar on individuals who are members of a terrorist organization or who have aided members of terrorist organizations would not apply to an individual who provided: (1) insignificant material support (i.e., support that was minimal in amount and inconsequential in effect); or (2) limited material support under circumstances involving certain routine commercial transactions, certain routine social transactions (i.e., in the satisfaction of certain well-established or verifiable family, social, or cultural obligations), certain humanitarian assistance, or substantial pressure that does not rise to the level of duress.
Additionally the individual must not have voluntarily and knowingly engage in terrorist activity on behalf of a designated terrorist organization, is seeking a benefit or protection under the INA and has been determined to be otherwise eligible for the benefit or protection, has undergone and passed relevant background and security checks, has fully disclosed the nature and circumstances of any material support provided and any other activity or association with a terrorist organization, has not provided the material support with any intent or desire to assist any terrorist organization or terrorist activity, has not provided material support that the individual knew or reasonably should have known could directly be used to engage in terrorist or violent activity, has not provided material support to terrorist activities that they knew or reasonably should have known targeted noncombatant persons, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests, has not provided material support that the individual knew or reasonably should have known involved providing weapons, ammunition, explosives, or components thereof, or the transportation or concealment of such items, is not otherwise inadmissible, poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States; and warrants an exemption from the relevant inadmissibility provision(s) in the totality of the circumstances.
This determination represents a major step forward for individuals who were forced to join terrorist organization, who previously faced blanket bans under the existing bars for terrorism. One such group is Iranians who were forced to join the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). All Iranian men must perform 18 to 24 months of military service upon reaching the age of 18 and they do not have a choice in which branch of the Iranian military they can serve. The IRGC was designated a terrorist organization by the Trump Administration in 2019 and since then hundreds of Iranian men have been blocked from receiving nonimmigrant or immigrant visas, including joining family members in the United States who petitioned for them. This determination would open the door to these men receiving visas assuming they meet the criteria noted above.
Karim Jivani is a Special Attention Staff Attorney at Reddy & Neumann, P.C. who focuses on employment-based non-immigrant visas. Karim’s practice covers all phases of the visa process including filing petitions, responding to Requests for Evidence (RFE), and drafting motions and appeals. He has completed over 30 RFE’s to date in response to H-1B, L-1, I-140, and VAWA petitions.
Reddy & Neumann has been serving the business community for over 20 years and is Houston’s largest immigration law firm focused solely on US. Employment-based immigration. We work with both employers and their employees, helping them navigate the immigration process quickly and cost-effectively.