Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and State Department yesterday issued two new exemptions to the Immigration and Nationality Act that would allow foreign nationals who have provided material support to individuals or terrorist organizations, as long as they are not part of or officially designated as a terrorist organization, the opportunity to benefit from our immigration laws. This waiver authority is limited to those who have provided “limited” material support that involves “routine” commercial or social transactions or “humanitarian” assistance, or who were subject to “substantial pressure” that does not even rise to the level of duress. This loophole could lead to large numbers of fraudulent claims of “pressure” and could be used by Obama Administration officials to grant asylum and other immigration benefits to aliens who have substantially assisted terrorists and terrorist groups. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below on the Obama Administration’s new policy.

Chairman Goodlatte: “I am deeply concerned that the Obama Administration is changing our immigration laws to allow those who have provided material support to terrorists or terrorist organizations the opportunity to come to or remain in the United States. While this new policy doesn’t apply to those who have helped groups officially designated as terrorist organizations by our government, such a broad exception is naïve given today’s global terrorist threats. President Obama should be protecting U.S. citizens rather than taking a chance on those who are aiding and abetting terrorist activity and putting Americans at greater risk.

“Additionally, the Obama Administration’s new policy provides another loophole in our immigration system. This loophole provides bad actors an opportunity to easily manufacture reasons that ‘forced’ them to provide material support to terrorists. With today’s national security threats, why would we ever willingly loosen our immigration laws to allow those who have helped terrorists game the system? The Obama Administration should not weaken our laws so that those who have supported terrorists can take advantage of them. Yet again, this Administration is abusing the powers granted it by Congress to provide relief in appropriate cases.”