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Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds (TRIG) - Group-Based Exemptions

Group-Based Exemptions To Date
All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF)
All India Sikh Students Federation-Bittu Faction (AISSF-Bittu)
Iraqi National Congress (INC), Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
10 Named Organizations in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (CAA)
Certain Association or Activities within the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)
Iraqi Uprisings
Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion National (FMLN) and Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA)
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP)
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)
Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK)
Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF)

Association or Activities with the All Burma Student’s Democratic Front (ABSDF)

Effective December 16, 2010, the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, exercised her discretionary authority not to apply terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants who have voluntary associations or activities with the All Burma Student’s Democratic Front (ABSDF) as described in INA section 212(a)(3)(B).

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Provision of Material Support to the All India Sikh Student’s Federation- Bittu Faction (AISSF-Bittu)

Effective October 16, 2010, the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, exercised her discretionary authority not to apply an inadmissibility ground to certain applicants who have voluntary provided material support to the India Sikh Student’s Federation-Bittu Faction (AISSF-Bittu) as described in INA section 212(a)(3)(B)(iv)(VI).

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Certain Association or Activities with the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)

On December 19, 2014, the president signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA FY 2015), Public Law (P.L.) 113-291, 128 Stat. 3292 (2014). Section 1264(a)(1) of the NDAA FY 2015 provides that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are excluded from the definition of Tier III organizations under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III). Previously, on September 21, 2009, the secretary of homeland security and the secretary of state, in consultation with the attorney general, exercised their authority not to apply the terrorism-related grounds of inadmissibility (TRIG) contained in INA section 212(d)(3)(B) for certain activities and associations involving the Iraqi National Congress (INC), the KDP, and PUK.

For more information on this exemption, please see:

  • September 21, 2009 Exercises of Authority
  • January 23, 2010 USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the INC, KDP and PUK”
  • March 13, 2015, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of Section 1264(a)(1), Subtitle E, Title XII, of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, and Updated Processing Requirements for Discretionary Exemptions to Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds for Activities and Associations Relating to the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan"

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10 Named Organizations in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (CAA)

In December 2007, Congress named 10 organizations in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (CAA) that are not to be considered Tier III organizations based on activity before December 27, 2007, when the CAA was signed into law. As a result, individuals are not inadmissible under INA Section 212(a)(3)(B) for certain activities or associations with one of the groups named below, if those activities and associations took place before December 27, 2007.

However, this “automatic” relief provision did not cover an applicant’s activities or associations with the 10 named groups if they took place after December 27, 2007, or if they related to one of the inadmissibility grounds under INA Section 212(a)(3)(B) that does not specifically relate to a organization, but rather describes individual activity. In order to address this, in June 2008 the secretaries of homeland security and State, in consultation with the attorney general exercised their discretionary authority to make exemptions available in these two categories.

 These groups covered by the CAA and the 2008 exercises of authority include:

  • Karen National Union/Karen National Army (KNU/KNA) - Burma
  • Chin National Front/Chin National Army (CNF/CNA) - Burma
  • Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) - Burma
  • Kayan New Land Party (KNLP) - Burma
  • Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) - Burma
  • Tibetan Mustangs - Tibet
  • Cuban Alzados - Cuba
  • Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) - Burma
  • “Appropriate groups affiliated with the Hmong” – Vietnam
  • “Appropriate groups affiliated with Montagnards” – Vietnam
  • African National Congress (ANC) – South Africa (Added July 2008 by P.L. 110-257)

For more information on these exemptions, please see:

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Certain Association or Activities with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)

Effective June 4, 2012, the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, authorized an exemption for certain applicants who have voluntary, nonviolent associations or activities with Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as described in INA section 212(a)(3)(B).

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Iraqi Uprisings

On August 17, 2012, the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, exercised her discretionary authority not to apply most terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants who participated in the Iraqi uprisings against the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq from March 1 through April 5, 1991.

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion National (FMLN) and Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA)

On April 3, 2013, following consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, the acting secretary of homeland security exercised her discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) or to the National Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, or ARENA).

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, the acting secretary of homeland security (the “Acting Secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities:

  • Solicitation of funds or other things of value for;
  • Solicitation of any individuals for membership in;
  • Provision of material support to; or
  • Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the EPRP.
  • For more information on this exemption, please see: October 17, 2013 Exercise of Authority
  • June 15, 2014, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP)”

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Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

On October 2, 2013, following consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, the acting secretary of homeland security (the “Acting Secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities:

  • Solicitation of funds or other things of value for;
  • Solicitation of any individuals for membership in;
  • Provision of material support to; or
  • Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the OLF.

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, the acting secretary of homeland security (the “acting secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities:

  • Solicitation of funds or other things of value for;
  • Solicitation of any individuals for membership in;
  • Provision of material support to; or
  • Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the TPLF.

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, the acting secretary of homeland security (the “acting secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities:

  • Solicitation of funds or other things of value for;
  • Solicitation of any individuals for membership in;
  • Provision of material support to; or
  • Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the DMLEK.

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general, the acting secretary of homeland security (the “acting secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain applicants for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities:

  • Solicitation of funds or other things of value for;
  • Solicitation of any individuals for membership in;
  • Provision of material support to; or
  • Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the ELF.

Additionally, an applicant who had activities or associations with the ELF before January 1, 1980, must meet additional qualifications. In these cases, the applicant must already have an existing or pending immigration benefit that meets one of the following criteria:

  1. On or before October 17, 2013, the applicant was admitted as a refugee or granted asylum, or had an asylum or refugee application pending; or
  2. The applicant is the beneficiary of a Form I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition filed at any time by a petitioner who was an asylee or refugee on or before October 17, 2013.

For more information on this exemption, please see:

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/01/2015