Honey, You Do Have to Live Like a Refugee


The New Republic is running an important story by Anna Husarska about the effect the PATRIOT Act and other laws have had in keeping desperate refugees out of the United States.

The problem has two parts. First, anyone who has provided "material support" to a terrorist group can be denied entry into the United States. The concept of "material support" has neither a clear de minimis level nor an explicit exemption for those who have been coerced—so a farmer who, under duress, provides a bowl of rice to a terrorist can be barred from resettling in the United States. Compounding this situation is the irrationally broad definition of terrorism put forth by Congress. Since passage of the Patriot Act, a "terrorist organization" can be any "group of two or more individuals, whether organized or not," that uses an "explosive, firearm, or other weapon or dangerous device (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property." In other words, just about any kind of violence can qualify as terrorism—even when it is a struggle that advances democracy and even when it is being carried out in opposition to unjust regimes. What's more, anyone who gives "material support," however minimal, to such groups is ineligible for refugee status.

It might all seem goo-goo and marginal if Husarska didn't have victims of the policies lined up in the article.

Relevant link: Justin Raimondo's book-length plea for the freedom of two Morroccans.