CVT Statement on Revisions to Terrorism Related Inadmissibility Grounds

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

St. Paul, MN – The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) today released the following statement in response to two new exemptions issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State to refine the scope and application of the material support provisions of the Terrorism Related Inadmissibility Grounds in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“CVT welcomes these much-needed exemptions that will enable individuals who do not pose a national security threat or public safety risk to have their applications for asylum, refugee, or other status adjudicated,” said Curt Goering, executive director of CVT.

For several years, overly broad definitions of “terrorist” activity, “terrorist” organization, and what constitutes “material support” to terrorism have led individuals who have not actually provided “material” support to any terrorist organization or acted in furtherance of terrorist activity to have their cases denied or put on hold because of limited, insignificant, or even involuntary support to undesignated “terrorist” organizations.

“These overly broad definitions have devastated refugees, asylum seekers, and their families by labeling individuals who are not guilty of any wrongdoing as ’terrorists’ and barring them from protection in the United States, even when they have been victims of violent groups and never engaged in or supported acts of violence themselves,” said Goering.  “For those refugees and asylum seekers who are also torture survivors, we know these false labels have significantly impeded their healing and rehabilitation.”

“While there is more the Administration and Congress must do to solve the underlying problems connected to these flawed definitions and expansive legal interpretation, these exemptions will help mitigate the damage and enable U.S. immigration adjudicators to better target actual terrorists and not refugees and asylum seekers in desperate need of protection in the United States.”

The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit headquartered in St. Paul, MN with an office in Washington, D.C. and healing initiatives in Africa and the Middle East. Visit


Brad Robideau
brobideau [at]

Media Contact

Jenni Bowring-McDonough
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+1 612-436-4886 (office) or +1 651-226-3858 (mobile)
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