On March 2, 2016, the Department of State published a notice in the Federal Register that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, had determined that the designation of Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula as a Foreign Terrorist Organization “shall be maintained.”

Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189) lays out the procedure for designation of a foreign terrorist organization.  In its notice, the Department of State cites Section 219(a)(4)(C), for its authority to maintain the designation.  Section 219(a)(4)(C) provides that if, in a five-year period, the Secretary has not reviewed the organization’s designation, the Secretary “shall review” the designation to determine whether the designation should continue.  On Feb. 25, 2016, the Secretary of State officially determined that the circumstances upon which Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula was designated had not sufficiently changed to “warrant revocation,” and further, that the national security of the United States did not warrant such a revocation.