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Taken Questions
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 25, 2002
Question Taken at Daily Press Briefing of July 24, 2002

Immigration and Nationality Act

Question: How is the ideological exclusion clause of the Immigration Act interpreted when issuing visas? Has this issue been updated or re-examined since September 11?

Answer: The provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act are mandated by Congress. In visa issuance, Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act deals with "Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or Admission," perhaps this section is what the question refers to.

The USA Patriot Act (November 2001) included several post-September 11 revisions to the Immigration and Nationality Act. Section 212(a)(3)(B) regarding "Terrorist Activities," states that any alien "who is a representative of a political social or other similar group whose public endorsement of acts of terrorist activity the Secretary of State has determined undermines United States efforts to reduce or eliminate terrorists activities," or "has used the alienís position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity, or persuade others to support terrorist activity or a terrorist organization," is inadmissible.

Examples of aliens also ineligible for visas include those that fall under Section 212(a)(3)(C), regarding "Foreign Policy," which states that "any alien whose entry or proposed activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United State is excludable."

Additionally, Section 212(a)(3)(D), regarding "Immigrant Membership in Totalitarian Party," states that, "Any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate thereof), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible." There are exceptions to this clause which can be found in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In visa issuance, ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act are interpreted as written in order to carry out the law as mandated by Congress.


Released on July 25, 2002