(CNSNews.com) – A draft regulation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would lift a 30-year-ban on Libyan nationals coming to the United States to work or train in “aviation maintenance, flight operations, or nuclear-related fields.”
The 11-page proposed rule was obtained by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
In a statement on his congressional website, Rep. Chaffetz said that the draft final regulation could take effect without prior notice and comment. The congressmen say the prohibition was put in place in the 1980s after the wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans.
"The administration justifies lifting this ban by claiming that the United States’ relationship with Libya has been ‘normalized,’” the statement said.
But the congressmen also say, "the terror threat continues and numerous news reports document recent terror-related stories coming from Libya. And just over a year ago the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked, which resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens."
The draft regulation is currently entitled, "Rescinding Suspension of Enrollment for Certain F and M Nonimmigrant Students from Libya and Third Country Nationals Acting on Behalf of Libyan Entities."
In its summary, the proposed rule states: "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations by rescinding the regulatory provisions promulgated in 1983 that terminated the nonimmigrant status and barred the granting of certain immigration benefits to Libyan nationals and foreign nationals acting on behalf of Libyan entities who are engaging in or seeking to obtain studies or training in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or nuclear-related fields."
"The United States and the Government of Libya have normalized their relationship and most of the restrictions and sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations toward Libya have been lifted," the rule reads. "Therefore, DHS, after consultation with the Department of State and the Department of Defense, is rescinding the restrictions that deny nonimmigrant status and benefits to a specific group of Libyan nationals."
A House Judiciary Committee source said the document is an “internal draft regulation” and is not final yet, and was obtained by Reps. Chaffetz and Goodlatte. It is not known yet when DHS, formerly headed by Secretary Janet Napolitano -- and now awaiting a new leader -- will officially issue the regulation.
Libyan nationals who want to come to America to study aviation or nuclear science would have to undergo the “Visas Mantis” security clearance, reads the regulation, and be subject to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security-threat assessments.
Goodlatte, in a statement on Chaffetz’s website, said, “Just over a year ago, four Americans were killed in the pre-planned terrorist attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi. We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and continue to face additional terrorist threats from Libya, yet the Obama Administration is preparing to lift a longstanding ban that protects Americans and our interests.”
Chaffetz said, “It is unbelievable that this administration would again put Americans in harm’s way by lifting a decades old security ban on a country that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity. We must work with the Libyans to build mutual trust that ensures safety and prosperity for both countries to enjoy."
Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C., commented, “It’s incomprehensible that the U.S. government is even considering reversing the longstanding policy banning Libyans from working or training in areas so crucial to national security.”
According to the 9/11 Commission Report, 4 of the 19 terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks received flight training at U.S. flight schools. Those terrorists were Hani Hanjour, Ziad Jarah, Mohammed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi.
Inquiries by telephone and e-mail from CNSNews.com to DHS for comment were not answered before this story was published.