U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republicans are telling the Biden administration to walk the walk after confirmation that Hamas supporters in the U.S. can have their visas revoked and be deported.
In response to inquiries by the Florida Republican and amid pressure from GOP lawmakers to revoke visas if foreign nationals openly support the Hamas terrorist organization, the State Department issued a letter confirming it has the authority to do so. Yet, a measure to put some teeth behind the talk was blocked in the Senate by Democrats this week.
“The Department of State also has broad authority under the [Immigration and Nationality Act] to revoke visas,” the letter to Rubio states. “We exercise the authority when there is information or evidence indicating a visa holder may be ineligible for a U.S. visa.”
The agency also confirmed that Hamas is listed as a foreign terrorist organization in U.S. law and asserted that all those seeking to travel into the country have to undergo extensive screenings.
State Department confirms they have the power to revoke the visas of Hamas supporters and deport them. Now they need to do it. pic.twitter.com/vCXyKufhad
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 16, 2023
“Even after issuance of a visa, the Department of State works closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other partner agencies to ensure every visa applicant is continuously screened to ensure they remain eligible for travel to the United States,” the letter told Rubio.
“The Department shares your outrage regarding Hamas’ brutal attack against the State of Israel and its citizens,” the agency noted.
In response, Rubio declared on social media: “State Department confirms they have the power to revoke the visas of Hamas supporters and deport them. Now they need to do it.”
During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing last week, the GOP senator questioned Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about revoking visas.
“I think it makes sense that if you can’t get a visa because you espouse terrorist views or endorse terrorist views, then if you have a visa and you do that while a visitor, we’re talking about visitors to the United States, that visa should be canceled,” Rubio said.
“I would agree,” Mayorkas replied.
“Okay, good. Because I’m asking the administration to enforce that, and I hope you will. I think that’s important. There’s a lot of talk about immigration. I deal with immigration every day because, as you know, where I live in Miami, virtually everyone is from somewhere else, whether it’s another state or primarily another country in South Florida,” Rubio said.
Lawmakers, notably Republicans, have been urging the Biden administration to take action against those espousing views promoted by Hamas and other terror groups.
Here’s a lesson:
Support Hamas = Lose Your Visa
My new legislation calls on the Biden administration to enforce existing law and revoke the visas of Hamas sympathizers. https://t.co/vTMUx2M7qd
— Rep. Tony Gonzales (@RepTonyGonzales) November 13, 2023
One particular effort saw a message from 19 lawmakers stressing the need to revoke visas from students who have been involved in pro-Hams, anti-Israel demonstrations.
“Foreign students contribute much to our society, but individuals who advocate terrorist violence against civilians are not welcome here,” the lawmakers said. “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.”
An effort by Rubio to get a bill passed that would follow through with revoking visas was blocked by Democrats this week, notably just hours after pro-Hamas activists tried to break into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters.
Last night, Senate Democrats said foreign nationals who support terrorist groups like Hamas should be allowed to keep their U.S. visas.
— Senator Marco Rubio (@SenMarcoRubio) November 16, 2023
“As a part of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, Rubio offered a Motion to Instruct conferees to insist that the final conference report include a provision to revoke visas and initiate deportation proceedings for any foreign national who has endorsed or espoused terrorist activities of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, or any another foreign terrorist organization,” Rubio’s website explained.
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