Rep. Omar opposes bill to expel Palestinians from the U.S.

 November 12, 2023

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has released a statement condemning a proposal that would, among other things, expel certain Palestinians from the United States. 

Omar was joined in the statement by U.S. Reps. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

The proposal at issue comes from U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT).

This is all related to the Oct. 7 terrorist attack that Hamas carried out on Israel and to the Israel-Palestine conflict that has resulted from this attack. Omar and Tlaib, in particular, have been the center of much controversy for their anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian messaging, which has included a call for a ceasefire.

Zinke's bill

It is called the SAFE Act, or the Safeguarding Americans from Extremism Act, and it was proposed on Nov. 2, 2023.

Zinke's press release states that the purpose of the bill is "to prevent Palestinian terrorists from abusing the United States’ legal immigration system by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to implement a pause on all visas, refugee status and granting of asylum for individuals holding a passport issued by the Palestinian Authority (PA)."

The bill would also revoke "any entrance of covered aliens who were granted visas or entered the United States on or after October 1, 2023."

Zinke is arguing that this bill is necessary to keep America and Americans safe.

Zinke said:

This legislation keeps America safe. I don’t trust the Biden Administration any more than I do the Palestinian Authority to screen who is allowed to come into the United States. This is the most anti-Hamas immigration legislation I have seen and it’s well deserved. Given the circumstances, the threats to our immigration system and the history of terrorists abusing refugee, asylum and visa processes all over the world, the requirements in this bill are necessary to keep Americans safe. This bill does exactly that.

"Fascism and pure bigotry"

Omar, Carson, and Tlaib, after identifying themselves as "three Muslim Members of Congress," wrote, in their statement, that they are "horrified" by Zinke's bill.

They continued:

Let’s be clear: using the full power of the state to target and persecute a particular ethnic group or nationality is fascism and pure bigotry. This legislation—by a former cabinet official no less—directly violates the U.S. Constitution, and would illegally destroy the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian immigrants who live in and contribute to American society. Though intended to target Muslims, this bill will also hurt Palestinian Christians, who will be targeted by these provisions. History will harshly judge this xenophobic, punitive and unconstitutional measure.

The three members of Congress go on to claim that Zinke's bill "is part of a growing tide of bigoted, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian hate pervading our politics."

They further claim that "this dangerous rhetoric is already costing lives."

"We call on the leadership of both parties to vocally and specifically condemn these comments and legislation, to make clear that anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hate has no place in our politics, and to name it when it happens," Omar, Carson, and Tlaib conclude.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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