(LibertySociety.com) – Lawmakers and presidential candidates have called for the revocation of visas for anyone who has shown support for the terrorist group Hamas. On October 15, just eight days after Hamas launched an attack against Israel, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio sent a similar request to the State Department. He compelled the agency to conduct a review of visa holders to find out if any had expressed support for Hamas’s actions. A month after Rubio’s request, the State Department responded and admitted that it had such authority.
The State Department reiterated the fact that Hamas was deemed a terrorist organization back in 1997 when the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was passed. The agency listed the ways in which candidates are screened before they are allowed to obtain a visa, including a search of the United States counterterrorism database. The letter went on to say that the State Department “also has broad authority under the INA to revoke visas.” Rubio posted a photo of the letter on X, formerly Twitter, after receiving the response on November 15. He wrote that the letter was confirmation that Hamas’ supporting visa holders could have their visas revoked and be deported, adding, “Now they need to do it.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby previously indicated that the Biden administration would not revoke foreign nationals for expressing their beliefs in a country that values free speech. Less than a month after the deadly terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that there had been an increase in threats against the United States and other Western nations. He compared the terrorist group to the since-destroyed ISIS caliphate.
Christine Abizaid, who serves as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), said that Hamas was using the same tactics as ISIS and al-Qaida regarding the use of propaganda to garner support. The conflict between Israel and Hamas is ongoing, with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry reporting that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have killed 12,300 people since the war began.
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