Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to deport foreign nationals, including people in the U.S. on student visas, who have expressed support for Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel.
In a letter sent to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday, Cotton demanded the department take immediate action to remove the foreign nationals, who the GOP lawmaker says have “no place” in the U.S.
“I write to urge you to immediately deport any foreign national—including and especially any alien on a student visa—that has expressed support for Hamas and its murderous attacks on Israel. These fifth-columnists have no place in the United States,” Cotton wrote.
More than 4,200 people have been killed in Gaza and Israel since Hamas launched its Oct. 7 attack against the Jewish State, leading to retaliatory action from Israeli forces. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.
“Federal law is clear that any alien who ‘endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization’ is inadmissible and must be deported,” he continued.
The letter comes after at least several dozen pro-Palestinian student groups at various colleges and universities across the country released statements and organized demonstrations supporting Hamas’ attack against Israel, even as many of the universities themselves condemned the acts of terrorism.
Shortly after the attack on Oct. 7, Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups released a statement signed by about 30 student organizations that read, “We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
Students for Justice in Palestine chapters and other pro-Palestinian student groups at many other universities, including George Washington University, the University of Virginia and the University of California, Berkley, also released similar statements on the weekend of Hamas’ surprise attack.
The statement by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups was later deleted after student organizations began removing their signatures amid bipartisan backlash and some CEOs demanded the names of the students who signed it.
“Swiftly removing and permanently barring from future reentry any foreign student who signed onto or shared approvingly the anti-Semitic letter from the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee on October 7 would be a good place to start,” Cotton told Mayorkas in his letter.
Many other pro-Palestinian student groups at institutions across the U.S. still have their statements posted online and continue to participate in protests celebrating Hamas’ attack.
“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.”