McClatchy reports on a section of the Patriot Act that bizarrely requires the U.S. to treat certain refugees as terrorists. Sami Alkarim, an Iraqi artist who was tortured by Saddam Hussein’s regime, can’t get his status sorted “because of messenger work he did as a teenager for the same political party that counts the current prime minister of Iraq as a member.”
The broad language of the Patriot Act and other laws bars refugees and asylum seekers from living and working in the U.S. if they supported or were members of an armed group in their homelands. They’re considered terrorists or supporters of terrorists even if they opposed dictators or helped the U.S. government.
Although Congress has attempted to give the executive branch the power to grant waivers in such cases, the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has yet to set up an efficient way to handle them, refugee advocates say.