In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States passed strict laws to prevent foreign nationals who belong to terrorist organizations, or are involved in terrorist activities, from obtaining visas or entering the country. The so-called Terrorism Related Inadmissibility Grounds (TRIG) at section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act are extremely broad, covering not only membership in or support for any designated terrorist group, but also mere association with any undesignated terrorist group – commonly referred to as “Tier III” organizations. Because there is no publicly available list of such groups, an individual may discover that he or she has run afoul of the terrorism bars only upon being refused a visa, or barred from entering the U.S., or denied asylum or a green card or some other immigration benefit. In most cases, the government does not even explain its reasons for labeling the person a terrorist, nor is such an explanation required by the law.
For more than a decade, our attorneys have zealously defended clients subject to the TRIG bars – based on accusations of associating with terrorist groups or providing support for terrorist activities – including in some the highest profile cases in the nation. We have successfully overcome TRIG allegations for asylum-seekers, individuals in removal proceedings, applicants for permanent resident status, and persons seeking to become U.S. citizens. The key to such cases is discerning the basis of the government’s charges, assessing whether the alleged association or activity falls within the statutory terrorism bars, determining whether any exceptions or waivers are available, and mounting an aggressive defense against unfounded or overbroad application of the law. U.S. immigration authorities take allegations of terrorist activity very seriously, and an equally serious and well-reasoned response is essential to resolving the government’s concerns.
Benach Collopy also has a well-developed practice for assisting foreign nationals applying U.S. visas abroad, who may be denied based solely on a consular officer’s “reason to believe” that the applicant has been associated with or supportive of suspected terrorist activities. Such cases are extremely challenging and can only be successfully handled by attorneys with a keen understanding of the terrorism bars, a strong relationship with U.S. consulates worldwide and with the appropriate U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the experience of developing a uniquely tailored strategy for each individual case. Benach Collopy currently handles visa cases involving allegations of terrorism-related inadmissibility throughout the world, in a variety of countries across five different continents.
Benach Collopy also specializes in matters involving allegations of national security concerns, including the importation of sensitive goods, technology or information; violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); violations of laws relating to espionage or sabotage; and the issuance of notices by INTERPOL.
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