Nineteen Republican lawmakers sent a letter Friday demanding the U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security revoke the visas and deport foreign nationals who support Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The letter, addressed to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was spearheaded by House Anti-Woke Caucus Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., according to a statement shared with The Christian Post.
“We write to request information regarding the potentially unlawful presence on U.S. soil of non-immigrant foreign nationals who have endorsed terrorist activity,” wrote the lawmakers, who noted that visas can be revoked under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) if their holders espouse terrorist activity or endorse a terrorist organization.
Hamas has been a designated terrorist organization since 1997.
The letter recounted the number of pro-Hamas protests that have roiled multiple college and university campuses since the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that killed more than 1,400 Israelis — including at least 30 Americans.
“Foreign students contribute much to our society, but individuals who advocate terrorist violence against civilians are not welcome here,” the lawmakers wrote. “If a visa was issued before DHS uncovers evidence of a visa-holder’s ineligibility under INA s.212(a)(3)B), in the interest of national security, the individual in question should immediately have their visa revoked and face expedited deportation proceedings.”
Noting how 437,018 student F-1 visas and 315,065 exchange visitor J-1 visas were issued during Fiscal Year 2022, the lawmakers urged the secretaries to inform them by Nov. 7 whether they have reason to believe any such non-immigrant visa holders have “endorsed or espoused” support for Hamas. They also asked what steps each department is taking to revoke such visas and initiate deportations.
In a statement, Banks warned that the U.S. has “already had a record number of illegal immigrants from terrorist-harboring nations.”
“We need to shut down our border and then deport all non-citizen Hamas sympathizers. The Biden administration has the legal authority and an obligation to do both — anything less betrays America’s national security,” he added.
Duncan said that while the U.S. welcomes individuals worldwide to come to the country legally, “we specifically prohibit visas to anyone who supports terrorist regimes in Section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).”
“If you support Hamas’ gruesome murder of innocent babies and killing people while they sleep, then you do not get to remain in America and enjoy freedoms that are antithetical to the terrorist extremists you support,” Duncan continued. “Americans refuse to allow antisemitic terrorist sympathizers to create home-grown terrorist cells on our soil. Americans should never support terrorists over innocent people fighting for freedom from oppression.”
“Hamas has killed Americans and is holding our fellow citizens hostage while visa holders celebrate in our streets. I refuse to sit idly by while terrorist supporters dance on the graves of Americans,” the congressman added.
The letter echoes a call from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who sent a letter to Mayorkas on Monday urging the deportation of any foreign nationals supporting Hamas, especially those on student visas.
“The appalling explosion of anti-Semitism in the United States over the past few weeks should disturb anyone who shares American values,” Cotton wrote. “While American citizens may have a First Amendment right to speak disgusting vitriol if they so choose, no foreign national has a right to advocate for terrorism in the United States.”
Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told reporters on Friday that she supports deporting Hamas sympathizers from the country following a terrorist attack in Brussels earlier this week, according to Reuters.
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