While Monday's refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by defendants in the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) prosecution effectively closes the case for the defense, it could open options for the government.
In addition to the five defendants, HLF as an organization also was convicted in the case. As we reported in December 2008, there are potential enforcement ramifications stemming from the HLF case beyond the five convicted defendants. This is particularly true now the appellate process has been exhausted in favor of the prosecution.
Since HLF has now been legally determined to have been an organization involved in terrorism support, foreign nationals who worked for HLF or otherwise assisted it may be subject to immigration enforcement action in the form of removal (deportation) proceedings.
In fact, even naturalized U.S. citizens who may have been involved in HLF activities before they naturalized may be subject to either criminal fraud prosecution and/or revocation of their citizenship status if they misrepresented their involvement with HLF or the nature of HLF activities while they were affiliated with the organization.
The Supreme Court decision finalizing the HLF appeals process firmly strengthens the position for law enforcement agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and their ability to aggressively investigate and prosecute additional suspects who may have been involved with this organization.