Attorney General Knudsen calls on Biden administration to enforce federal law, remove student visa holders who provide support to terror groups
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and 19 other state attorneys general today called for the prompt removal of foreign student visa holders who are found to have endorsed terror activity or provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations, following a recent surge of antisemitic activity on university campuses.
In a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Knudsen and the coalition called on the federal government to renew the vetting of foreign student visa holders and remove any who have violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by endorsing or espousing terrorist activity, or persuading others to do so.
“Those who live under the protection of the United States government, including holders of student visas, must respect the basic rights of all to be free from the threat of terrorism,” the attorneys general said in the letter. “Therefore, in light of the recent, disturbing surge of antisemitic activity and threats of violence, we ask that you vigorously renew the vetting of foreign student visa holders and promptly remove any who are found to have endorsed or espoused terrorist activity or provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations.”
According to FBI statistics released last month, anti-Jewish crimes in the United States have risen sharply in the past year to the second-highest level on record. Following the barbaric attack on Israel in which 1,400 men, women, children, and babies were killed and 240 were taken captive, these threats have surged to further “historic” levels, the FBI said.
Since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, college campuses have become a glowing hotbed of antisemitic activity and threats of violence against Jewish students and people. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group linked to both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad—two entities designated by the U.S. Department of State as “foreign terrorist organizations”— described the attack as “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance” and issued a “call to action” asking its college chapters to hold demonstrations.
“Facts like these raise reasonable concerns that persons admitted to the United States on student visas could be involved in supporting terrorist activity,” the attorneys general wrote. “To be sure, students should not be suspected of criminal activity simply because they are foreign visa holders. And the freedoms of speech and association are cherished American values that should be vigorously safeguarded. But a visa holder’s presence on American soil is a privilege that should be revoked for those who provide aid or comfort to terrorists.”
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that “any alien who … endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization” is “ineligible to receive a visa and ineligible to be admitted to the United States.” Additionally, anyone who “knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so” commits a federal crime.
In addition to Attorney General Knudsen, the attorneys general Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia signed on to the letter, which was led by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin.
Click here to read the letter.