Terrorists Who Applied for Asylum
Ahmad Ajjaj and Ramzi Yousef - These individuals entered the United States seeking asylum in 1991 and 1992, respectively. In 1993, they helped commit the first World Trade Center bombing which killed six people. Ajjaj left the country and returned in 1992 with a fraudulent passport. He was convicted of passport fraud and did not complete the asylum process prior to his conviction. Yousef completed the required INS paperwork and was given a date and time for his asylum hearing; however, his application was pending when the World Trade Center was bombed.
Sheik Umar Abd ar-Rahman - Abd ar-Rahman sought asylum to avoid being deported to Egypt. He helped plan a "day of terror" for June 1993 in which New York City landmarks such as the United Nations' building, the FBI's Headquarters in lower Manhattan, and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels were to be bombed.
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet - Hadayet applied for asylum in 1992, telling the INS that Egyptian authorities falsely accused and arrested him for being a member of the Islamic Group Gama'a al-Islamiyya, which is on the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. The INS denied his asylum request and Hadayet was placed in removal proceedings. After Hadayet did not receive the notice of his immigration hearing date due to an incorrect mailing address, the EOIR terminated the proceeding. On July 4, 2002, Hadayet shot and killed two people at the Los Angeles airport before he was killed by an El Al Airlines security guard.
Mir Aimal Kansi - Kansi entered the United States in 1991 and applied for political asylum in 1992. The INS Asylum office did not interview him or schedule an immigration court date since his application was in the pending backlog. On January 25, 1993, Kansi murdered two and wounded two CIA employees.
Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer - The INS voluntary returned Mezer to Canada after he was apprehended twice in June 1996. After Mezer's third apprehension in January 1997, the INS began formal removal proceedings because Canada refused to accept him a third time. In April 1997, Mezer filed for asylum, in which he claimed that he suffered a fear of persecution if he returned to Israel. In June 1997, Mezer withdrew his application and told his attorney that he had returned to Canada. Subsequently, Mezer was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for planning to bomb the New York City subway system.