Refugees hoping to stay in America are SOL if they backed armed movements back home—even if they fought dictators or have since worked for the United States, McClatchy reports. Following a Patriot Act provision, officials have denied more than 7,000 requests for green cards, refugee status, and asylum to refugees in the US. "I can't tell how much of this madness is policy and how much of it is just madness," says one human rights advocate.
Lawmakers have tried to grant the executive power to circumvent the Act, and the Department of Homeland Security has granted 10,500 waivers to keep such refugees in America. But others face deportation and are branded terrorists. One, now an artist in Denver, has hired a lawyer to fight back. "It would be an honor to represent the United States," he says. "But I can't say I'm American."