Sudanese Immigrant Nailed on Terror Charges
Migrant, indicted for aiding ISIS, would have been barred from U.S. under Trump order
A Sudanese immigrant living in Virginia was sentenced to 11 years in prison Friday for attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State and for making false statements to the FBI.
Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan aided Joseph Hassan Farrokh, also of Virginia, in his attempt to travel from the U.S. to Syria to fight for ISIS, according to court documents.
“As soon as he came to the United States in 2012, Mahmoud Elhassan was looking for supporters of Islamist terrorism groups,” according to court documents.
Court documents show that soon after he came to the United States, Elhassan began searching out supporters of Islamist terrorism groups.
President Donald Trump is expected to reissue a revised temporary ban on travel from seven terrorism-compromised nations Wednesday, including Sudan. The revised ban will specifically exempt green-card holders from the travel restrictions — and Elhassan did become a legal permanent resident of the United States in 2012.
But the Sudanese migrant implicated in a terror plot would likely have been barred from entering the United States when he first arrived in 2012, had the policy from the current White House been in place.
Trump’s original order, issued just one week into his presidency, temporarily barred citizens from seven terror-ridden Muslim nations — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen — from entering the U.S. for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and refugees from Syria indefinitely.
The order was first halted by a federal judge in New York on Jan. 28. When the Trump administration appealed the ruling, the left-leaning 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the travel ban on Feb. 9.
After Trump's order was blocked, the U.S. saw an unprecedented surge in immigration from the seven terror-ridden nations, according to government statistics.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated that nearly 3,000 people from the seven nations arrived from Feb. 4 through Feb. 7.
"For context, that 3,000 compares to 1,200 over the same period in 2016," officials said in a prepared statement.
To date, nearly 45 percent of refugees admitted under the Trump administration have come from the seven nations listed in the order, which is similar to the rate during President Obama’s final three months in office.
Statistics from U.S. Customs officials also suggest that people traveling to the U.S. from the seven targeted countries did in fact come in at a higher rate, surging 250 percent compared to the previous year.
"There have been approximately 3,000 individuals from the seven countries listed in the Executive Order on Travel who entered the United States between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7, 2017," the agency said.
The seven nations listed in Trump's executive order were identified by the Obama administration as "exceptional security risks" in the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015 and its 2016 extension.
The White House has argued the ban should remain in place while the Department of Homeland Security determines the "information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat," according to DHS.
The Trump administration is expected to unpack an updated version of the original executive order this week, according to the White House.