Biden Administration Refuses to Cancel Visas for Alleged Pro-Hamas Foreigners

( – When Israel declared war on Hamas, the country immediately started bombing Gaza. Activists across the world, including in the US, began protesting the conflict. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) then asked the State Department to take action against foreign nationals he thought were supporting Hamas. President Joe Biden’s administration has now responded.

In mid-October, Rubio asked the State Department to revoke the visas of foreign nationals who participated in protests against Israel. He claimed those demonstrators were supporting Hamas, the terrorist organization that attacked Israel and killed 1,400 people. The senator cited 8 U.S.C. 1182, which states anyone who “endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity” is ineligible for a visa.

By participating in anti-war protests, Rubio argued that foreign nationals were supporting Hamas.

On November 15, Rubio posted a letter from the State Department dated the same day and said the agency admitted it has the power to revoke the visas of those participating in the protests and needs to take such action.

The State Department’s letter to Rubio stated the agency “has broad authority under the [Immigration and Nationality Act] to revoke visas,” and it does so when it has evidence proving a visa holder is ineligible. It goes on to say that when it receives information that a visa holder has done something to make them ineligible, the agency “take[s] immediate action.”

The letter also informed the senator that the US has designated Hamas a terrorist organization since 1997. When the agency gives someone a visa, they run a check to “ensure applicants do not pose a security risk” to the American people. The department told Rubio that, like him, it is also outraged over the terrorist attack carried out by Hamas and said its top priority is making sure America is safe and secure.

The State Department did not commit to revoking the visas of those participating in the protests.

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