Florida Senator: Cancel Visas of International Students Protesting War in Gaza

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News May 15, 2024

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has proposed to the Biden administration to revoke visas of international students participating in pro-Palestinian protests on university campuses.

Rubio wrote a letter to State Secretary Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, calling once again to deport these students who, according to him, have expressed a pro-Hamas attitude, Erudera.com reports.

“For those international students who defied university orders, and police instruction, in favor of acting on pro-terrorist views, this should result in immediate expulsion from their host institution and our generous country. No questions asked,” he wrote.

He pointed out that the “support for a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization” is a reason to cancel a visa and immediately deport someone from the United States.

“As pro-terrorist protesters continue to be arrested, I urge you to ensure those who are in our country on visas are placed into expedited deportation proceedings,” Rubio added.

However, students have never expressed any pro-Hamas views. In fact, they have been calling on their universities to divest from Israeli companies or academic institutions that, according to them, are profiting from the war in Gaza.

The pro-Palestine student movement began nearly four weeks ago at Columbia University. As a result, the university shifted to online classes. Since then, protests have popped up at college campuses nationwide, leading to thousands of people being arrested.

Due to these developments, the Ivy League school decided to cancel its main graduation ceremony, originally scheduled for today, May 15, due to weeks of protests on campus. Instead, the university offered students smaller school-based ceremonies to receive their honors.

Student protests soon spread across European campuses, demanding universities to cut ties with Israel due to the Gaza war. On Monday, after police moved in at the University of Amsterdam to end a student protest, the school announced it would remain closed until Thursday, May 16.

Students in Belgium also joined the wave of protests asking universities to stop collaborating with companies tied to the Israeli military. They occupied the dining hall at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), bringing food and setting up tents. Similarly, at the University of Ghent, over 100 students took over parts of the university to protest against Israel’s war in Gaza, stating the same demands.

Over 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, and about 75,000 have been injured since October 7, when the Israel-Gaza war began. Nearly 1.7 million people have been displaced.

Image source: Official Twitter account of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, posted on January 3, 2023

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