The BorderLine is a weekly Daily Signal feature examining everything from the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at the border to immigration’s impact on cities and states throughout the land. We will also shed light on other critical border-related issues like human trafficking, drug smuggling, terrorism, and more.
The United States is a tolerant society with great opportunities for higher education. That’s why over 400,000 students got visas to come and study here in fiscal year 2023. But a few of them should be sent home. Specifically, those who had the gall to publicly endorse the Hamas terrorist attacks of Oct. 7—a massacre that will go down in history for its wanton cruelty, even in a part of the world that has known much misery.
The day after the attacks, dozens of students at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., a mile from the White House, rallied in support of Palestinian political violence. Judging from the protest signs in Arabic and the accents, some of them are likely here on F-1 (student) visas. These are issued by the State Department to qualified foreigners who prove that they have the academic ability and intent to persevere through a full course of study and that they can support themselves financially.
Prospective students must also, like all visa applicants, show that they are not ineligible under the Immigration and Nationality Act due to criminal behavior or other conduct rendering them unsuitable guests of the United States. Among the law’s many visa ineligibilities, members of the German Nazi Party or anyone who “ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide,” are inadmissible.
The United States also doesn’t allow terrorists, or their supporters, to vacation in America and visit the Grand Canyon or Disneyland, much less stay here four or more years and study at Harvard. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, “Any alien—who endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or supports a terrorist organization … is inadmissible.”
On several U.S. college campuses, faculty and students rallied to outright praise Hamas’ terrorist attacks and blame Israel for causing them. Inevitably, international students on visas would have participated in such rallies—one reason, perhaps, why so many wore masks.
At California State University, Long Beach, the La Fuerza [the force] Student Association held a rally to “Protest for Palestine,” and in its poster displayed the same meme posted by Chicago BLM activists of what looked to be one of the terrorists descending by hang glider who murdered kids at a music festival.
At Tufts, Students for Justice in Palestine praised Hamas terrorists as “liberation fighters” whose mass murder, gang rape, kidnappings, and other atrocities against civilians “show[ed] the creativity necessary to take back stolen land.”
The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Swarthmore College called Hamas’ atrocities “legitimate resistance” and glorified the “valiant” fallen Hamas terrorists as “martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for liberation.”
At New York University, the head of a law student association wrote “Israel bears full responsibility” for the Hamas murders, which she implied were “necessary” “resistance.”
At Harvard, more than 30 student groups wrote a joint letter calling Israel “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” (Read it now, because links are being hurriedly taken down. Harvard kids might be radical, but they also feel entitled to Fortune 500 jobs and don’t want their association with the letter being raised in a future job interview.)
In some of the campus demonstrations, students chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is a genocidal call for the elimination of Israel, the world’s only Jewish state—something that could only come about through violence. Many other student demonstrators’ slogans, tweets, and memes—such as images of the hang-glider terrorist—are reasonably interpreted as endorsing or espousing terrorism.
Hamas is a terrorist organization, designated so by the U.S. in 1997. It proved this yet again on Oct. 7 when it deliberately killed the elderly, women, and children. Terrorists also raped and took hostages to bargain with. Knowing retaliation is inevitable, Hamas now hides in buildings filled with vulnerable civilians serving as shields.
A different section of immigration law says that any alien “whose entry or proposed activities in the Unites States the Secretary of State has reasonable ground to believe would have potentially serious and adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States is inadmissible.”
That’s up to Secretary Antony Blinken to decide, but it would be reasonable to revoke the visa of any foreign student who actively praised deliberate indiscriminate murder of women and children in pursuit of a political goal—action which surely fits the definition of “terrorism.”
We welcome foreign students. Many of them become Americans, and we are grateful for their brains, youth, and energy. But there must be reasonable limits to our tolerance. We cannot allow in our midst people who advocate that any people—not least of those we consider our close allies, the democratic state of Israel—should be murdered by terrorists. Such action should always result in refusal of a visa.
If that visa has been issued already, the holder doesn’t get a free pass to endorse terrorism. If they do, it should result in the immediate revocation of the visa, student status, and commencement of expedited deportation proceedings.
Along with their education, foreign students must learn what makes America special—our history and our values. These include freedom of speech, but not freedom to call for the death, kidnapping, rape, and torture of others. Anyone who doesn’t get that does not deserve our hospitality.
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