- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2005

A 16-year court battle by a suspected terrorist seeking to avoid being deported from the United States ended this week when he was escorted back to India by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Charenjit Singh, 43, was found to have actively engaged in terrorism, supported terrorists and was linked to two terrorist organizations in India.

“The deportation caps a key victory for ICE and closes a chapter in a very long fight to deport someone who violated our laws,” said Robb Emery, division chief of ICE’s national security law division. “He is not the first terrorist to have tried to exploit the nation’s immigration system, but we are committed to preventing others like him from succeeding.”

Singh’s case stretches back to September 1989, when he was arrested two days after his arrival in this country near El Paso, Texas, and placed in deportation proceedings, ICE spokesman Dean Boyd said.

After initially being ordered deported for failing to attend his immigration hearing, Singh successfully petitioned the immigration court to reopen his case and have it transferred to Philadelphia, where he eventually filed an application for lawful permanent resident status in the United States, Mr. Boyd said.

Mr. Boyd said Singh’s case was heard in January 1997. In February 1998, an immigration judge granted him lawful permanent resident status despite his admitted membership in two terrorist groups.

ICE appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, Mr. Boyd said, arguing that under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Singh never was eligible for legal status in the United States because of his membership in the terrorist groups.

One of those organizations, Babbar Khalsa, is officially designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization. Singh also has been linked to the Khalistan Commando Force, which has been identified in attacks against Indian officials.

The board sustained ICE’s appeal in February 2003, and ordered Singh to be deported. Singh appealed to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which affirmed the board’s decision. ICE agents arrested Singh in September, and he was held in Philadelphia until his deportation.

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