Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has recently taken a strong stance on national security and immigration in light of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Biden administration’s handling of foreign nationals expressing support for Hamas, following the group’s attack on Israel. In a letter addressed to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Senator Cotton emphasized the importance of adhering to federal law, which dictates the deportation of foreign nationals who endorse or support terrorist activities.
Cotton’s letter urges the immediate deportation of foreign nationals, including those on student visas, who have voiced support for Hamas and its actions against Israel. He highlights the clarity of federal law, stating that any foreign national who endorses or espouses terrorist activities or supports a terrorist organization is inadmissible and must be subject to deportation.
Recent events have seen a surge in demonstrations within the United States expressing solidarity with Palestinians and criticizing Israel, particularly following Hamas’s October 7 attack that resulted in the loss of over 1,400 lives. Some American universities, including the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, and other student groups, openly voiced support for Palestinians and downplayed Hamas’s involvement in terrorism, which raised concerns among many lawmakers.
Senator Cotton specifically addressed the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee’s joint statement, signed by around 30 student groups, blaming Israel for the violence and attributing atrocities to Hamas. He called for swift action in removing and permanently barring foreign students who endorsed this statement.
Furthermore, nationwide rallies against Israel have been held, leading Cotton to label the situation as an “appalling explosion of anti-Semitism.” He drew attention to heightened security measures taken in New York and Los Angeles as anti-Israel demonstrators gathered on the same day a former Hamas leader called for a “day of jihad.”
Cotton’s concerns lie in the rise of anti-Semitism and advocacy for terrorism in the United States, emphasizing the distinction between American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights and foreign nationals who, according to federal law, should not have the same privileges when it comes to supporting terrorism on U.S. soil. This perspective aligns with a conservative approach that prioritizes national security and adherence to existing laws in dealing with individuals who express support for terrorist organizations.