1990 ElSayyid A. Nosair assassinates
Jewish activist Meir Kahane in New York. Nosair is a follower of Sheikh Omar
Abdel Rahman, who later is linked to the World Trade Center bombing and a U.N.
Jan. 1993 Mir Amal Kansi, a Pakistani, murders two
CIA employees in a random shooting outside the Langley, VA headquarters and
flees the country. He entered the United states in 1990 on a visa issued in
Karachi, Pakistan. In 1992, he applied for political asylum in the United
States and was routinely released with a work permit. Records indicate that he
had been involved in anti-U.S. demonstrations in Pakistan. He had purchased an
AK-47 assault rifle in Virginia.
Feb. 1993 Under the influence of Sheik Omar Abdel
Rahman, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef organizes Mohammed Salameh and three others in
plotting and carrying out a bombing at New York's World Trade Center that
caused mass destruction, six deaths and more than a thousand wounded. The
group is comprised of Egyptians and Palestinians.
Yousef, travelling on an
Iraqi passport, entered the United States in September 1992 without a visa,
but was allowed to enter the country provisionally after asking for asylum,
because of lack of detention space.
His companion, a Palestinian named Ahmad
Ajaj, who arrived on a fake Swedish passport, was arrested and found to have
bombmaking videos and manuals in his luggage. Salameh entered the United
States in 1988 on a Jordanian passport and a visitors visa issued in Amman,
He applied for legal residence status [presumably asylee status], was
turned down, and continued to be in the country on appeal of that decision.
AbdelRahman, an Egyptian religious leader charged with inciting a 1989 riot in
Egypt, obtained a visa in Khartoum, Sudan which had no automated lookout
system that would have identified him as a security threat.
He entered as a
tourist and applied for political asylum and received legal residence. An
immigration judge ordered him deported in March, 1993, but he was still in the
country four months later when he is arrested for terrorist acts.
June 1993 Eight militant Muslim fundamentalists
are arrested in New York for plotting to blow up the United Nations
headquarters, tunnels under the Hudson River and a federal office building.
The arresstees were from Sudan, Egypt, the Israeli West Bank and Gaza, Jordan
and Pakistan. To read the Department of Justice Inspector General's report on
this incident, click here
Mar. 1994 Rashad Baz, an immigrant from Lebanon,
and two others shoot up a van full of Hasidic students, wounding four, on the
Brooklyn Bridge. Baz entered on a student visa in 1984. He attended courses
parttime at a community college in 198485. He married a U.S. citizen in 1989
and applied for legal residence in 1991.
Baz was accompanied by Bassam Mousa
Reyati, a Jordanian, who entered as a student in 1989 and received residency
in 1992 on the basis of marriage to a U.S. citizen. Hlal Mohammed, a
Jordanian, was the third terrorist.
Sept. 1994 FBI Dir. Freeh sends Dep. Att. Gen
Gorelick a package of antiterrorism recommendations from the Executive
Advisory Board of DoJ's Office of Investigative Policies. Recommendations
- develop a uniform database of State Dept. visa refusals;
- rethink the visa waiver pilot program;
- expand INS preinspection;
- allow classified information to be used by the court in deportation
- tighten the asylum screening provisions and detain and expeditiously
deport anyone suspected of terrorist intent;
- tighten controls against NIV overstayers and persons involved in sham
- share INS alien files with FBI terrorism investigators.
Aug. 1994 Sen. Kennedy sponsors and obtains
passage of a measure in the Violent Crime Control Appropriations Act of 1995
that amends the Immigration and Nationality Act - Section 245(i) - to permit
illegal aliens, whether illegal border crossers or visa overstayers, to obtain
adjustment to legal residence status without having to leave the United States
for investigation by U.S. consular officers in alien's native country of their
possible ineligibility for immigrant status. The measure applies for three
years and is due to sunset in September, 1997.
Apr. 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) is enacted. It provides for expeditious removal of
mala fide asylum applicants, restricts judicial review of deportation,
increases penalties and RICO investigation powers for terrorism
The State Dept. was required to develop a list of foreign
terrorist organizations. President Clinton signed, but said at the time that
he considered some of the changes "illadvised." Subsequently the
Administration tried unsuccessfully to strip summary exclusion from the law
through the Leahy amendment to the Illegal Immigration Reform Act.
In the end,
the later act softened some of exclusion process for asylum claimants.
Surviving in the INA are AEDPA amendments to Section 219 ("Designation of
Foreign Terrorist Organizations.")
Sept. 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Alien
Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRARA) changes summary exclusion to expedited
exclusion for mala fide asylum applicants. The new standard allows an appeal
to an Immigration Judge.
Also included is a provision to make activities that
"incite terrorism" or represent a danger to the community or security of the
United States as a grounds for exclusion from the United States. The IIRARA
also expanded detention facilities and broadened the definition of an
aggravated felony for purposes of deportation.
Feb. 1997 Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian
teacher who arrived in the United States in December, 1996 on a tourist visa
kills seven tourists with a 14 shot semiautomatic pistol at the Empire State
Building before killing himself.
He bought the gun in Florida despite federal
law prohibiting sales to aliens who do not have at least 90 days of residency.
Abu Kamal wrote that he was taking vengeance against enemies of the
Legislation is introduced to make it unlawful to provide a
firearm to a nonpermanent resident alien and possession of a firearm by such
Mar. 1997 Legislation is introduced to extend
firearm restriction to legal resident aliens, except for hunting and sporting,
unless they have been in the U.S. for one year.
July 1997 Two Palestinians and a Pakistani are
arrested on a tipoff to New York City police and are found to have suicide
bombs and a note indicating they intend a terrorist attack in the city's
subways. Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, a Palestinian, entered the United States (in
Washington state) illegally from Canada three times and was apprehended and
returned to Canada.
He entered Canada as a student, but requested and received
political asylum. After his last U.S. entry the Canadians would not take him
back because he had committed crimes in Canada. He applied for asylum, and a
judge ordered a hearing for 1998 and released him.
Abu Mezer said that he had
been accused by the Israeli government of belonging to Hamas, a terrorist
organization a claim denied by his family in Israel. On June 23, at a hearing
on his asylum application, he withdrew it, and the judge gave him 60 days to
depart the country. Lafi Khalil, the second terrorism suspect entered the
country on a tourist visa and stayed on illegally.
The Administration, represented by the INS and the State
Department, support adoption on a permanent basis of the adjustment of status
provision for illegal aliens - INA Section 245(i) - that facilitates legal
residence status for persons entering without inspection or overstaying their
visa without having to leave the United States for investigation of their
possible ineligibility for immigrant status in their native country.
Aug. 1997 The State Department acknowledges that
it still has not prepared the list of international terrorist organizations
required by the Antiterrorism Act in 1996.
A Dept. State spokesman says the
report is overdue because any group designated as a terrorist organization
will have the right to challenge that designation in U.S. courts. The
designation will cause U.S. fundraising activities for the group to be cut off
and members of the group will be barred from entering the United States.
Aug. 1998 U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
bombed by terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden causing massive destruction and
loss of life. Four of the terrorists were convicted in May 2001 of conspiracy.
- Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, a Tanzanian, assisted in creating the truck-bomb
that blew up the embassy in Tanzania, sentenced to life in prison.
- Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, a Jordanian, convicted of particpating in preparing
the explosives used to bomb the embassy in Kenya, faces life in prison.
- Mohamed Rashed Daoud Alowhali, a Saudi Arabian, participated in the
attack on the embassy in Nairobi by distracting guards with a stun grenade,
faces life in prison.
- Wahid El-Hage, born in Lebanon, a U.S. citizen, acted as a messanger
between Bin Laden and the terrorists in planning the attacks, faces life in
Dec. 1999 Ahmed Ressam, who was admitted to Canada
as an asylum applicant in 1994 despite being expelled from Algeria and France
for suspicion of terrorist activities, was arrested in Port Angeles, Wash.
attempting to enter the U.S. from Canada with a carload of bomb-making
materials destined for Los Angeles airport.
Sept. 11, 2001 In the most destructive terrorist attack in history,
four U.S. commercial airlines were skyjacked by armed terrorists, and two of
them were crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York
The third plane was crashed into the Pentagon, and the fourth plane,
that may have been headed for another Washington, D.C. target, crashed in
Pennsylvania, apparently as a result of a heroic effort by passengers to
thwart the skyjackers.
The death toll of victims reached many thousands from among the crew and
passengers in the planes, the occupants of the buildings when they were hit,
and subsequently as the Trade Center buildings collapsed.