Only Two Vote No On Bipartisan Bill
On Wednesday, a sweeping measure seeking to ban Hamas terrorists involved in last October’s attack on Israel from ever entering the US received overwhelming support in the House of Representatives.
The No Immigration Benefits for Hamas Terrorists Act, introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), passed with an impressive 422-2 vote, effectively barring members of designated terror groups and even individuals involved in the October 7th attack from seeking asylum in the US.
The two lawmakers who voted against the bill were Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.). Tlaib, a vocal critic of Israel’s war on Hamas and the Biden administration’s support for it, argued that the bill was “redundant” and would only serve to “incite” hatred. Bush, a fellow member of the far-left “Squad” of congressional Democrats, echoed Tlaib’s sentiments, calling the bill a “redundant, empty messaging bill” being used to target immigrants and fuel anti-Palestinian sentiment.
Both Tlaib and Bush pointed out that the measure was essentially redundant, as current federal law already prohibits the entry of members of designated terror groups into the US. However, McClintock’s bill seeks to expand this restriction to include members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as well as any individuals involved in the October 7th attack who may not be affiliated with a designated terror organization.
In a statement following the passage of the bill, McClintock stressed the importance of ensuring that “bad actors” do not find refuge in the United States, particularly during a time of heightened tensions in the region. The PLO, a political and militant group that has been linked to numerous attacks on Israel in the past, has not been classified as a terrorist organization by the State Department, but McClintock’s bill would change that.
The October 7th attack on Israel, which the bill specifically references, was a series of violent incidents carried out by members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Both of these groups have been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the State Department since 1997. The attack resulted in multiple casualties and highlighted the ongoing threat posed by these designated terrorist groups.
Despite the overwhelming support for the measure in the House, some critics argue that it is being used as a political tactic to target immigrants and fuel anti-Palestinian sentiments. Tlaib and Bush, both of Palestinian descent, have been vocal advocates for Palestinian rights and have been critical of US policies towards the region.
However, supporters of the bill argue that it is a necessary step in ensuring the safety and security of American citizens, and that it is not aimed at any specific group or ideology, but rather at preventing terrorists from finding a safe haven in the United States.
H.R. 6679 now heads to the Senate for consideration, where its fate remains uncertain. Given the bipartisan support in the House, it is possible that the bill will also receive support in the Senate and ultimately become law. However, some Democrats may continue to raise concerns about the potential implications of the bill, especially in regards to anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiments.
As tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East, with ongoing conflicts between Israel and Palestinian groups, debates over immigration and national security are sure to remain at the forefront of political discussions. The passage of this bill in the House serves as a reminder that ensuring the safety and security of the country remains a top priority, and that measures such as H.R. 6679 will continue to be introduced and debated in the ongoing effort to prevent the spread of terrorism.