Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would rescind student visas of foreign nationals in the U.S. and send them back to their home countries if they expressed support for Hamas terrorists’ attack against Israel.
Speaking at a campaign event in Iowa on Friday, the White House hopeful discussed his plans to remove Hamas-supporting foreign nationals attending U.S. colleges and universities from the country as many pro-Palestinian student groups at various institutions across the nation release statements and organize demonstrations endorsing Hamas’ largest attack against Israel in decades.
‘You see students demonstrating in our country in favor of Hamas,’ DeSantis said. ‘Remember, some of them are foreigners.’
DeSantis said he will be ‘canceling your visa, and I’m sending you home’ if he wins the presidency in 2024.
Fellow Republican presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said at the same event in Iowa that, if elected president, he would withhold Pell Grants from universities that failed to eliminate antisemitism on their campuses.
Both presidential contenders voiced their support for Israel as the war between the Jewish State and Hamas continues after more than three weeks of violence.
More than 5,700 people have been killed in Gaza and Israel since Hamas’ attack against Israel on October 7, leading to retaliatory action from Israeli forces. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.
DeSantis has been vocal in condemning Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel and has taken action to help Floridians stranded in Israel find their way home.
Last week, the governor announced that nearly 300 Floridians arrived in the Sunshine State on flights from Israel following his executive order authorizing logistical, rescue and evacuation operations through Florida’s Division of Emergency Management. The flights were completed through a partnership with the search and rescue non-profit group Project DYNAMO, and efforts for further evacuation flights to Florida are expected.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management also sent cargo planes to Israel containing medical supplies, clothing items, hygiene products and children’s toys, according to the governor’s office.
DeSantis called students voicing support for Hamas a ‘total disgrace’ earlier this month after at least dozens of student groups at various U.S. academic institutions, including Harvard University, endorsed Hamas’ attacks on Israel through public statements and protests, even as many of the universities themselves condemned the acts of terrorism.
Shortly after the attack on October 7, Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups released a statement signed by about 30 student organizations that read, ‘We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.’
Students for Justice in Palestine chapters and other pro-Palestinian student groups at many other universities, including George Washington University, the University of Virginia and the University of California, Berkley, also released similar statements on the weekend of Hamas’ attack.
The statement by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups was later deleted after student organizations began removing their signatures amid bipartisan backlash and some CEOs demanding the names of the students who signed it.
Many other pro-Palestinian student groups at institutions across the U.S. still have their statements posted online and continue to participate in protests celebrating Hamas’ attack.
Other Republican lawmakers have also called for canceling the visas of foreign nationals who support Hamas and deporting them back to their home countries.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the Biden administration should rescind visas of foreign nationals who defend or support Hamas and Sen. Tom Cotton, R. Ark., urged the Department of Homeland Security to deport foreign nationals, including those on student visas, who have expressed support for Hamas in the wake of the terror attack on Israel.
DeSantis has also said he does not support accepting refugees from Gaza who wish to evacuate the violence in the region.
‘I don’t know what [President] Biden’s gonna do, but we cannot accept people from Gaza into this country as refugees,’ DeSantis said at a campaign event earlier this month.
‘I am not going to do that,’ he added. ‘If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic. None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist.’
Scott and other Republicans have slammed the Biden administration’s response to Hamas attacks against Israel as well. The South Carolina senator said during a speech in Washington, D.C., earlier this month that the president has ‘blood on his hands.’