Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Biden administration tries to plug border loophole that released migrant linked to terrorism into the U.S.

By 37ci3 May29,2024



The Biden administration is giving immigration judges and asylum officials more access to classified information to determine which migrants may have ties to terrorism or pose a threat to public safety.

The change in policy follows an April 11 report on NBC News An Afghan migrant on the terrorist list has been granted bail by an immigration judge in Texas. After Immigration and Customs Enforcement prosecutors withheld information about a possible terrorist connection because the evidence was classified. Instead of arguing that the man was a national security risk, prosecutors argued that he was a flight risk, two sources familiar with the case said.

Muhammad Harvin, 48, was caught crossing the border in 2023 but was released because the Border Patrol did not have biometric information linking him to a terrorist watch list. He lived in the United States for more than a year Before being arrested by ICE in early 2024. When his potential connections are proven terrorism He was not brought before a judge, but was released again pending an asylum hearing scheduled for 2025, U.S. officials said.

Hours after NBC News reported, the man was arrested again in San Antonio.

The new policy, announced in a May 9 memo by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, repeals a 2004 directive that said classified information could only be used “as a last resort” in immigration proceedings.

Under the old policy, asylum officers who make initial determinations about an immigrant’s eligibility to apply for asylum and prosecutors who file deportation cases in immigration court had to obtain permission from the DHS secretary to share classified information.

The new memo instructs those employees to go to the head of their individual agency, such as ICE or US Citizenship and Immigration Services, for approval.

Two DHS officials told NBC News that the administration is determining whether to build more space and obtain security clearances for more employees to store, print and share classified information.

Officials would not comment on whether the NBC News report played a role in the change in classified information policy, but said global migration trends warranted a review. The memo is one of the results of a three-year study on how immigration policy should evolve to reduce terrorist threats, officials said.

“Over the past five years, we’ve seen a significant shift in how transnational criminal organizations are increasingly involved in the movement of people in our hemisphere, particularly people from the Eastern Hemisphere,” said one DHS official.

“We’ve seen the terrorist threat landscape in the last few years become more complex than it was immediately after 9/11,” he said.

Kharvin is on the FBI’s national terrorist watch list, which includes the names of 1.8 million people considered potential security risks. The database shows him to be a member of Hizb-e-Islami, or HIG, a political and paramilitary organization designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.



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