The Impact of the October 7th Hamas Terror Attacks on US Immigration

by | Oct 16, 2023

The Hamas terror attacks on October 7th, the worst terrorist attack on Americans since 9/11, resulted in 30 Americans dead and 13 unaccounted for.  The horrible atrocity touches the lives of thousands around the world.  But what ensued after may change the immigration future of many hopefuls in the United States.

Thousands of people have spilled into streets worldwide to protest.  Some, grotesquely have celebrated Hamas’ actions, circulating social media photos and videos, claiming the Hamas attacks as “justified resistance” chanting “Death to Israel” and for “liberation by any means.”  Those expressing those views may want to think twice if they are not US citizens.

Justice for Palestine

US immigration laws, which govern everything from student visas to naturalization, are fiercely adverse to those that support terrorist organizations.  Anyone who is in the US or wants to come to the US with an immigrant or non-immigrant visa must demonstrate that they are admissible to the US.  Anyone who supports terrorist organizations will be deemed ineligible.  Their visa or green card can be denied, or revoked and they may be deported.  Congress ensured it.

Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act holds any alien who supports terrorist organizations or supports or incites terrorist activity or endorses, persuades others to endorse such activity is inadmissible.  Section 237 authorizes the removal of any such person and it is a permanent bar from the US.  Even if someone is a long-time permanent resident in the US, they can be denied naturalization and placed into deportation proceedings for such actions.

Have you ever committed, threatened to commit

While people may think they are merely supporting the plight of the Palestinians, a careful review of what they are endorsing and inciting is crucial here.  It is well known that Hamas has been a designated foreign terrorist organization by the Department of State since October 8, 1997.  Given they have been deemed terrorists for almost 30 years, it’d be a hard case to make that someone was unaware of their terrorist designation.  So celebrating, endorsing, or inciting further actions by Hamas may not be the path one wants if they are seeking a path to US citizenship.