Rubio asks Biden administration to cancel visas for foreign nationals supporting Hamas.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is calling on President Biden to cancel visas for foreign nationals supporting Hamas in the wake of the terrorist group’s unprecedented attack on Israeli citizens near the Gaza Strip.
“America is the most generous nation on earth, but we cannot allow foreign nationals who support terrorist groups like Hamas and march in our streets calling for ‘intifada’ to enter or stay in our country,” Rubio said in a Saturday release .
Since the attack on Oct. 7 that has killed more than 2,800 people on both sides of the war so far, conflicting demonstrations have taken place across the U.S.
Thousands of pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered in New York City’s Times Square in support. This comes after Reuters reported Wednesday that former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called for Muslims to support the militant group that governs the Gaza Strip.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) and other officials said they were deeply disturbed by calls for violence. The city, and others across the U.S., has increased security .
The protest, part of “International Day of Action for Palestine,” also included protestors from the City University of New York at Baruch College, who then joined the demonstration in Times Square.
Rubio said the Biden administration has the authority to cancel the visas, saying it is critical to do so “for foreign nationals who endorse or espouse terrorist activity, including those who defend or support Hamas by calling for intifada, jihad, or other similar actions to eliminate the Jewish state of Israel.”
Rubio also announced that he would take action himself.
“In addition to demanding the Biden Administration apply our existing laws, I will introduce legislation to force them to act,” Rubio said.
In addition, Rubio said he would pursue legislation that withholds federal funding from colleges and universities that allow pro-Palestine protests, demonstrations and other activities that could be seen to “endorse or espouse terrorist activity or persuade others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization.”
Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) also denounced the demonstration in support of Palestine, along with Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.).
Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) blasted the “bigotry” of the Palestine rally in Times Square after facing pressure. Other members of the group of progressive lawmakers known as the “Squad,” including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), were heavily criticized by members of their own party, highlighting the divisions among Democrats over the war.Tlaib, the only Palestinian member of Congress, characterized Hamas’s attack as part of a “resistance” effort and suggested that the United States support stop funding Israel’s “apartheid government.”
Pro-Palestine, Israel demonstrations occur across U.S., world
At the same time, demonstrations supporting Israel have taken place in the U.S. and the Associated Press reported that a skirmish between people on both sides broke out in front of the United Nations headquarters.
Meanwhile, as calls for support from Meshaal continued on Friday, members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation had already protested last Sunday at the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, chanting supportive words for Hamas while calling on the U.S. to stop aiding Israel.
Israel announced an evacuation order for Gaza , applying to one million people, or half the population of the narrow piece of land located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.