Sen. Marco Rubio confirmed the development this week.
The U.S. State Department may revoke visas of Hamas supporters who are in the United States amid the Israeli-Hamas conflict, according to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
The agency has not issued a public comment about the statement sent to the Republican senator. The Epoch Times contacted the State Department for comment Friday.
“The Department of State also has broad authority under the INA to revoke visas. We exercise the authority when there is information or evidence indicating a visa holder may be ineligible for a U.S. visa,” the agency said in its Nov. 15 letter to Mr. Rubio, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The act mandates that individuals who have engaged in terrorist activity be barred from entering the United States. It also applies to individuals who have called on others to “endorse or support one of these named terrorist groups.” Hamas has been listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and other federal agencies for decades.
“Even after issuance of a visa, the Department of State works closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other partner agencies to ensure every visa applicant is continuously screened to ensure they remain eligible for travel to the United States,” the letter to Mr. Rubio said.
Related groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah are also designated as terrorist groups. However, the Houthi militant group based in Yemen was taken off the INA terrorist list in 2021 by the State Department, although the group later carried out what the State Department called a series of “terrorist attacks” in Saudi Arabia the next year.
Mr. Rubio sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and demanded that his department take action against people who are in the United States and back Hamas, which launched a series of attacks in Israel in October, sparking the conflict.
A number of demonstrations have erupted across U.S. cities and at university campuses that back the Palestinians, although some individuals have explicitly supported Hamas.
Last week, the senator also responded to separate videos being spread on TikTok, owned by Chinese Communist Party-linked company ByteDance, and claimed the app is intentionally favoring pro-Hamas content.
The calls come as the federal government has opened civil rights investigations into seven schools and universities over allegations of anti-semitism or anti-Muslim sentiment since the outbreak of the Israeli–Hamas war.
The list includes three Ivy League institutions—Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania—along with Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. It also includes one K-12 school district, the Maize Unified School District in Kansas.
The Education Department announced the inquiries on Thursday, calling it part of the Biden administration’s effort to take “aggressive action” against discrimination. Schools found to have violated civil rights law can face penalties up to a total loss of federal money, although the vast majority of cases end in voluntary settlements.
Five of the investigations are in response to allegations of anti-semitic harassment, while two are in response to allegations of anti-Muslim harassment, the department said. The agency did not disclose which schools faced which accusations. Details about individual complaints were not released.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.