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Uzbekistani Immigrants Win 3rd Circuit Appeal

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - The 3rd Circuit found that the U.S. attorney general incorrectly interpreted the national security exception to the Immigration and Nationality Act as applying to immigrants who "may pose a danger to national security," but would otherwise be eligible for relief.

This interpretation "ignores clear congressional intent" by replacing the statutory question of whether an alien "is a danger to the security of the United States" with the question of whether he or she "may pose a danger to the national security," Judge Ambro wrote, adding the emphasis.

Because of this discrepancy, the appellate judges remanded the case of two Uzbekistani immigrants who claimed they faced persecution or torture if removed to their home county.

The court said they were probably eligible for deferred removal, but remanded to determine whether the national security exception applied to their case.

The Bureau of Immigration Appeals had relied on the attorney general's erroneous interpretation in determining that the national security exception barred the petitioners from withholding of removal.

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