The United States has agreed to revise an immigration law so that thousands of Burmese refugees can be considered for resettlement in the United States.
A State Department official announced the move Thursday that will allow more than 9,000 ethnic Karen people currently living in temporary housing in Thailand, to apply for resettlement.
Under the revision, the refugees would no longer be viewed as supporters of terrorism. A recently-passed immigration law did not make it clear what constitutes a terrorist group and what qualifies as "material support" for terrorism.
Thursday, the Karen National Union confirmed reports that Burmese government troops have driven some 11,000 Karen out of their homes.
The K.N.U. said Burmese troops are shelling and burning Karen villages and farms. It said the troops are also planting land mines, subjecting people to forced labor, and committing rape, torture, and murder.
The Karen, one of Burma's major ethnic groups, have been fighting for independence for more than 50 years. They have reached a provisional truce with the government, but sporadic fighting continues.