The US State Department confirmed this week that it has the authority to revoke the visas of foreign nationals who express support for Hamas while living in the US.
The announcement said it has “broad authority under the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] to revoke visas” – contained in a letter issued to Sen. Marco Rubio, who is leading Congressional efforts to allow for the deportation of Hamas supporters.
The State Dept. said “We exercise the authority when there is information or evidence indicating a visa holder may be ineligible for a U.S. visa.”
Hamas became an officially designated foreign terrorist organization in 1997, and current US laws say that not only terrorists themselves but are those who have “persuaded others to endorse or support” a designated terror group are banned from US soil.
“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 to Sen. Rubio explained.
Of course, the millions of illegal immigrants currently inside the country, with more pouring in by the day, would fall through the cracks in terms of any such screening.
The effort of Rubio and other GOP reps to place more scrutiny on any potential Hamas supporters comes amid the backdrop of large pro-Palestinian protests which have taken over many college campuses and some cities. Jewish groups have also claimed a rise in “antisemitic attacks” – and have cited that in some cases Leftist students have carried signs that express sympathies with Hamas.
Trump has lately expressed support for the move as well…
Donald Trump speaks on war in Middle East between Israel and Hamas:
“If you sympathize with jihadists then we don’t want you in our country… I will cancel student visas for Hamas sympathizers on college campuses… come 2025 we will find you and we will deport you” pic.twitter.com/M5HQwgTjU8
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) November 15, 2023
This has outraged Rubio and other Congressional leaders. He wrote to the Biden administration this week, “I urge you to immediately use existing law to eradicate this hate from our country.”
He added, “In addition, I will be introducing legislation to provide further tools to ensure supporters of Hamas, and other FTOs [foreign terrorist organization], do not benefit from our country’s generosity.”