Republican Study Committee fights allowing those with Iranian terror affiliations into U.S.

The RSC introduced a piece of legislation that will require visa applicants to disclose ties to Iran and the IRGC.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., a Navy Reserve officer who served in Afghanistan, speaks during a news conference to discuss the U.S. military withdrawal from the country, with members fo the House Republican Conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

On Wednesday, several members of the Republican Study Committee announced the "Protecting America from IRGC Terrorists Act," which would require those applying for U.S. visas to disclose any affiliations with the Iranian government or IRGC. 

At present, those entering the country are asked if they have any affiliations with terrorist entities, but not with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's paramilitary organization that has orchestrated numerous terror attacks against Americans.

RSC Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who is leading the legislative effort, said, "Opening the border to members of a hostile terrorist army violates the Biden administration’s constitutional obligation to protect states from invasion. Unfortunately, House Democrats have prioritized appeasing Iran above all else."

In addition to Banks, the bill is backed by 14 members of the RSC, including the committee's National Security Task Force Chairman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who says that the IRGC has "the blood of Americans on its hands."

"There’s no reason anyone affiliated with this terrorist group should be allowed to enter the United States. Requiring visa applicants to disclose ties with the IRGC will make it easier to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and punishing those who sneak through the cracks. I’m grateful to co-lead this bill with Chairman Jim Banks to enhance our national security and to protect American families," he said.

The proposed legislation argues that it is especially important to have foreigners disclose any potential ties to Iran and the IRGC as the Middle East nation continues to actively plot the assassination of U.S. officials. 

"I am shocked that disclosing Iranian and IRGC affiliations was not already a requirement for U.S. visa applications," said Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), a backer of the bill. "Iran has shown us time and time again that they are no friend of the United States."

Last month, the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security issued a joint notice that would exempt individuals who have provided "insignificant material support" to terror groups from the automatic visa ban that exists under the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation.

But at the time, the State Department argued that the change was made to aid in the immigration efforts of vulnerable Afghans who may have had forced relationships with terror groups in their country of origin. The Taliban is not designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The notice was also issued as the Biden administration attempted to revive its effort to reinstall the Iran nuclear deal. 

Following the issuance of the notice, the RSC questioned the State Department asking about its intentions in making the process for entry into the United States easier for potential IRGC sympathizers. 

"Over the last two decades, the IRGC is responsible for the killing of over 600 U.S. servicemembers and continues to threaten U.S. public officials who dared challenge their terrorism. Allowing any individuals into our country who may have assisted these terrorists would be a direct national security threat to our citizens," said Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), another backer of the legislation.