GOP senator calls for deporting certain foreign student protesters

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Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) called for the U.S. government to revoke the visas given to international students who are Hamas sympathizers and deport them as college protests continue nationwide.

“You cannot go around yelling ‘I am Hamas’ or ‘We are Hamas’ or ‘River to the sea’ and pushing out Jewish students and have the University not step up,” Blackburn said Tuesday on The Hill on NewsNation.

“Now, in my opinion, for the students who are out protesting, shouting ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ and … being Hamas sympathizers, if they’re foreign students, I would pull their visa and deport them,” she continued.

Blackburn continued, arguing that if they are U.S. students who are federal student loan borrowers, she would pull their loans since it is funded by taxpayer dollars.

The Tennessee senator’s comments come just after students at Columbia University took control of a university building early Tuesday morning. Demonstrators barricaded entrances and flew a Palestinian flag from a window at Hamilton Hall in a shift from what has largely been a non-violent protest on campus.

The movement has spread across the country, with many other college campuses experiencing encampments the pro-Palestine protests. More than 1,000 people have been arrested on campuses due to protesting.

Many of the student protesters have called for their schools to divest from Israel and support efforts for a cease-fire. The protests have denounced antisemitism and have not explicitly endorsed Hamas in the ongoing conflict, but a few incidents have become part of the larger contention around the protests.

Columbia banned a student protest leader from campus who said, “Zionists don’t deserve to live.” A resurfaced video of a protest organizer, Khymani James, showed him saying earlier this year that people should be grateful that he doesn’t go around “murdering Zionists.” James has apologized for his comments.

Blackburn said that if people are “looking in the camera and saying, ‘I am Hamas,’ we should believe them” and add them to the terrorist watch list and no-fly list.

“You cannot sit by and just let this activity continue and have Jewish students put … in harm’s way,” she said.

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