Tom Cotton urges Homeland Security to immediately deport foreign nationals who support Hamas

Cotton said that American citizens have a First Amendment right to free speech, but foreign nationals do not have the right to advocate for terrorism.

Published: October 17, 2023 9:40am

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is demanding Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to deport foreign nationals, including those on student visas, who have expressed support for Hamas, the U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization that killed more than 1,400 people, including at least 29 U.S. citizens, in Israel earlier this month.

"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," Cotton wrote Monday in a letter to Mayorkas.

Cotton specifically said that a "good place to start" would be removing and permanently banning any foreign student from reentering the U.S. after they signed onto or approved the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee earlier this month.

The Oct. 7 letter was signed the day of the brutal Hamas massacre of men, women, children and the elderly before Israel even declared war. The letter blamed Israel for the attack, which included the rape and torture of civilians and resulted in the kidnappings of nearly 200 people. Harvard University President Claudine Gay distanced the school from the letter and many CEOs have refused to hire members of the student groups that signed the letter.

"The appalling explosion of anti-Semitism in the United States over the past few weeks should disturb anyone who shares American values," Cotton also 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."

Mayorkas, who is a Jewish descendant of a Holocaust survivor, condemned the attacks and said last week that his agency is staying "vigilant" against terrorism but is not targeting speech. 

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