(JTA) — The United States has dropped deportation proceedings against the son of a Hamas founder who served as a spy for Israel’s Shin Bet security service.
Mosab Hassan Yousef will be granted asylum in the United States following a routine background check, an immigration judge ruled Wednesday during a deportation hearing in San Diego, Calif. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security attorney said during the short hearing that the government was dropping its objections to the asylum request.
Yousef, 32, a convert to Christianity, has lived in the United States since 2007.
The eldest son of Hassan Yousef, a founder of the Palestinian terrorist group, Yousef was recruited by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, in 1997. Israeli agents have been quoted as saying that his information has prevented multiple terrorist attacks.
Yousef has written of his experience in a recent book, "Son of Hamas," and now promotes the book on the conservative and pro-Israel speaking circuits.
Immigration authorities originally rejected his request for asylum, apparently based on his acknowledgment in his book that he worked for Hamas — even though he was employed in order to spy for Israel.
Hassan Yousef, who has been held in an Israeli prison since 2005, said in a statement following reports that his son had spied for Israel that he and his wife, as well as his other children, disowned their oldest son.
Jewish groups rallying to keep Mosab Yousef in the United States included Emet, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, and the Jewish Federations of North America. JFNA last week wrote U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
"Mr. Yousef’s conduct in preventing acts of terror by cooperating with the Israeli government would definitely place him in grave danger should he be forced to return to the Middle East," JFNA Washington director William Daroff said in the letter, the Washington Jewish Week reported.
Gonen ben Itzhak, Yousef’s former Shin Beth handler, revealed his identity last week in a bid to bring attention to Yousef’s plight.