The Bush administration is shifting policy to allow foreigners who have aided armed groups but are not considered terrorists to seek asylum or resettle in the United States.
Hundreds of foreigners already in the country, including some who have been held for months or years in detention, claim to have been forced to help violent groups. Many are fleeing violence from the groups they were forced to help.
Tens of thousands of others, living abroad in refugee camps and elsewhere, also would be affected by the plan to ease restrictions set after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The applicants will have to show that they were forced to provide the support or did so "under duress" to be granted asylum or legal permanent residency. They must pass other intelligence and background checks as well.