Huffington Post reports that the Obama administration has announced that it is using executive action to make it easier for asylum seekers who have provided "limited material support" to terrorists or terrorist groups to remain in the United States. See Obama Administration Easing Immigration Rule for Would-Be Asylum Seekers, February 9.

Predictably, Republicans lost no time in demagoguing this issue. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va), whom pro-reform wishful thinkers were looking to as the "savior" of immigration reform only a couple of months ago, is quoted in the above article as saying:

"President Obama should be protecting US citizens rather than taking a chance on those who are aiding and abetting terrorist activity and putting Americans at greater risk."

The administration countered that:

"Refugee applicants are subject to more security checks than any other category of traveler to the United States...Nothing in these exemptions changes the rigorous, multilayered screening that we do."

By making a change in these rules unilaterally, the Obama administration is signaling to the Republicans that it will not let reform be held up entirely by GOP internal wrangling over how far the party should go to appease the white supremacist bigots in its base, as well as well funded organizations such as Heritage Action which are trying to bludgeon and intimidate Republican legislators who try to step out of line on reform by "primarying" them.

Let us hope that this administrative rule change is only one of many executive actions to come in order to fight back against the racism, cowardice and hypocrisy among GOP leaders who have killed immigration reform for this year in Congress, just as it was killed last year and in 2007 for the same reasons.


Roger Algase is a New York attorney and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 30 years, through his close personal attention to each case, he has been earning the trust of his business and professional immigration clients and helping them achieve successful results.

His main areas of practice are H-1B and O-1 work visas, and green cards through labor certification, extraordinary ability, and opposite and same sex marriage. His email address is