Marches closing city streets. Protests paralyzing college campuses. Incendiary messages dominating social media. These things are happening here, in America, because a foreign terrorist organization called for a "day of jihad," inciting violence across the country and overseas.
The demonstrations were shocking. Students waved Taliban flags at a "pro-Palestine" demonstration at Florida Atlantic University. Hundreds of UCLA students called for "intifada" as their Jewish classmates walked by. George Washington University students held a candlelight vigil for Hamas terrorists who were killed. And at the University of Pennsylvania, hundreds of students walked out of class, chanting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
That slogan is not advocating for a "Free Palestine" or a two-state solution. As the Anti-Defamation League notes, the "chant can be understood as a call for a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, territory that includes the State of Israel, implying the dismantling of the Jewish state." It is literally a call for the complete elimination of Israel’s 7 million Jews.
Some of those demonstrating are Americans who’ve never taken shelter from a barrage of terrorist rockets. Others, though, are in America as guests. They presumably came to America to enjoy our freedoms, benefit from our economy, and escape dangers back home. But now they are taking to the street to support foreign terrorists who murder innocent civilians and who hate America and the State of Israel.
We have one word for them: LEAVE.
Foreign nationals supporting Hamas and their brutality against both Israelis and Americans have no place in our great nation. And they certainly don’t have a constitutional right to entry into the United States. In fact, their very presence here violates the law.
The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits entry of anyone who "endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization." That includes people who defend or support Hamas by calling for intifada, jihad, or other similar actions to eliminate the Jewish state of Israel.
And let’s not forget what triggered the calls for these anti-Semitic, pro-terrorism demonstrations.
On October 7, thousands of Hamas terrorists surged over and through a border fence into southern Israel. They gunned down 260 young people, including Americans, at an outdoor dance festival. They stormed small farming communities, raping women, burning babies, and slaughtering the elderly. All told, more than 1,400 innocents lost their lives and 229 hostages are now held captive in Gaza. 33 Americans are among the dead and another 10 remain unaccounted for.
This horror, the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust, was caught on camera by Hamas. It was celebrated by leaders across the Middle East. Iran said the "operation opened a new chapter in the field of resistance and armed operations against the occupiers." Iraq said the terrorist attack was "a natural result" of "systematic oppression." Qatar said "Israel alone bears the responsibility." Syrian and Lebanese Hezbollah chimed in with enthusiastic additional words of support for Hamas and its actions.
Shocking words, but not surprising.
The real surprise is that these vile words are being echoed by people right here in America with protests celebrating the worst forms of human brutality. Some will argue foreign nationals on visas are protected by our First Amendment. But this is not a matter of free speech. It is about abiding by the conditions of their visa – a voluntary agreement between them and the U.S. government to allow their temporary presence in our great country.
Those who incite violence or endorse terrorist activity by supporting Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and attacks against Jews are in violation of the terms of their visas and should no longer be welcomed as guests of America. It really is that simple.
And to Americans who support Hamas — think twice. It is your right to think it and even to say it, but if you act on those feelings to incite violence or provide material support, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Pennsylvania’s junior senator recently remarked "America is not sending their best and brightest to Washington, D.C." Last week, his Democrat colleagues – including Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) – proved him right by opposing efforts to rescind visas for foreign nationals who support terrorism. This should be an opportunity for us to come together in a time of crisis.
They say politics is a team sport – Republicans in red jerseys and Democrats in blue – but that kind of thinking has all but paralyzed Washington. We’re all on Team America. This is common sense. Let us work together to do what is right for this country and act quickly to expel any foreign nationals who would abuse our freedoms to endorse and promote the most depraved acts of terror.
David McCormick is a former U.S. Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, a veteran of the first Gulf War, and has been the CEO of two successful businesses. He is author of Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America.