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Senate Democrats Block Rubio Resolution Calling on Biden to Revoke Visas of Hamas Sympathizers
Current U.S. law prohibits supporters of terrorism or terrorist groups from entering the country. Yet foreign nationals in the U.S. have supported Hamas’s declaration of an international “day of rage” and the terrorist acts committed against Israel.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) led a bicameral resolution calling on President Joe Biden to enforce existing law by revoking the visas of foreign nationals who endorse or espouse terrorist activity, including those who defend or support Hamas.
Senate Democrats blocked Rubio’s resolution calling for the cancellation of terrorist sympathizers’ visas.
Rubio spoke on the Senate floor. See below for the video.
Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Katie Boyd Britt (R-AL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Ted Budd (R-NC), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Cornyn (R-TX), and John Hoeven (R-ND) we original co-sponsors of the resolution.
An excerpt from the Senator’s speech is below:
- “What I am saying is common sense. You’re a visitor. You are not even American. You’re a foreign national. You’re here because we gave you a visa to be here temporarily, and now you’re out there defending and supporting Hamas, a terrorist organization? You need to go. That’s what this resolution asks the administration to do. I hope we can get a vote on it in the Senate, so everyone will know where everyone here stands.”
Want more information?
- October 2023: English/ Español: Rubio, Colleagues Call on Biden to Enforce Existing Law, Revoke Visas of Hamas Sympathizers
- October 2023: Rubio: Cancel Visas for Those Endorsing Terrorism
- October 2023: Rubio to Blinken: Revoke Visas for Hamas Sympathizers
Read the full transcript below:
“The law of the United States, the Immigration and Nationality Act, mandates that you are ineligible to enter into the United States if you endorse or espouse terrorist activity, or persuade others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity, or support a terrorist organization. What that means is, if you are a supporter of a terrorist group, or you encourage others to support the actions of a terrorist group, you’re not supposed to get a visa.
“I’m not talking about American citizens. I’m talking about someone who is a foreign national, and that person is in the United States on a visa, and that person is out there defending or encouraging others to defend and take the side of a terrorist organization, like Hamas or Hezbollah. If they are not supposed to have a visa to come into the country if they do that, once they’re already here if they do that, they should lose that visa. That’s applying existing law.
“What I’m going to come here on the floor and try to do today is pass something that I thought was common sense. It’s not even a new law. It’s a resolution that says the Senate is asking the Biden Administration, if they come across anyone who’s here, a foreign national on a visa, who supports Hamas, to cancel that person’s visa and remove them from the country.”
“We have a First Amendment right in this country to free speech. But everyone acknowledges there are limits to it. For example, you do not have a First Amendment right to call people to overthrow the government of the United States. You don’t have a First Amendment right to incite people to violence. And there is no First Amendment right to a visa.
“I’m not talking about U.S. citizens. This is very specifically written to talk about people who have endorsed or espoused the terrorist activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad. This does not say people who support a two state solution…. People have every right to espouse those views. I may disagree with them, but they have a right to do that. What no one has a right to do, especially a visitor to the United States, granted a visa for which there is no constitutional right, [is support terrorism].
“The law says they’re not even allowed to be in. But now they’re here. They got in because obviously nobody goes in to their interview and says, ‘I’m a Hamas supporter, in case you’re wondering.’ Or maybe they became a Hamas supporter while they were here. But they are here as visitors on a visa defending and supporting a terrorist organization, one that just committed a horrible slaughter [and] has been doing it for a long time….
“This is not about the First Amendment. This is about people that are actively calling for the support of a terrorist organization that, if they could, would slaughter Americans. If they had the capability to conduct an attack like that in the United States, they would. There is no constitutional right to that. And there is no constitutional right to a visa to remain in this country. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what all this is about.
“It just makes all the sense in the world. Why would any country in the world say, ‘We’re going to give out visas to people who support terrorism?’ They wouldn’t, and our law doesn’t permit that. But now that they’re here, somehow they’re immune to the application of the law? Now that visa is somehow a protected document?
“A visa is just a country saying, ‘We’re going to allow you in as a visitor for a temporary period of time.’ There are all kinds of things that can get your visa canceled. If you’re here to do a certain kind of job, and you’re not doing that job, you’re in default of the visa. There are all kinds of things that, depending on the visa you’re on, can get a visa canceled. Shouldn’t one of them be espousing support for terrorism? Shouldn’t that be one of the criteria that we use?
“At the end of the day, it comes down to this. I promise you that all across America, I don’t even have to take a poll, if you went up to the average person, and you ask them…, ‘Should we kick people out of this country who are not Americans, who are foreign nationals, who are here on temporary visas, and are out there supporting terrorism inside our country?’ I guarantee you the overwhelming majority of Americans would say, ‘Absolutely we should.’ I’ve had Democratic colleagues come up to me and say that today.
“This resolution doesn’t even force the administration to do it. It just calls on them to do it. I honestly don’t understand the objection. I don’t understand the rationale behind the objection. I hope we can maybe vote on it one day. Maybe we can get a vote on this. That way everybody can be on the record. We shouldn’t have foreign nationals in our country that support Hamas or Hezbollah or any of these other groups.
“I specifically tailored the language of this resolution to stick to the law and nothing more. I do not believe anybody should be out there committing acts of violence against people because of their ethnic heritage, because of their religion.
“Do people realize, for example, that in the Israeli army right now, there are Israeli Arabs who will be called to go into Gaza and fight in the war? There are Israeli Arabs who will fight for Israel because they’re against terrorism. Do they realize that in the armed forces of the United States, there are men and women who are Muslims, followers of Islam, who have fought for the freedoms of this country? This is not a nation where your value as a person or your status as an American is determined by your religion or your ethnic background. I reject that categorically.
“We’re heartbroken, for example, by a story that some deranged person knocks on the door and murders a little boy the other day, screaming something about Muslims. That’s a crime. I’m glad he was arrested. He should go to jail, and anyone who does that should go to jail. That is the kind of violence that terrorists do. No one is defending or talking about anything like that.
“What I am saying is common sense. You’re a visitor. You’re not even an American. You’re a foreign national. You’re here because we gave you a visa to be here temporarily. And now you’re out there defending and supporting Hamas, a terrorist organization. You need to go. That’s what this resolution asks the administration to do. I hope we can get a vote on it in the Senate, so at least everyone will know where everybody here stands.”