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What exactly is a “terrorist” country? Apparently, Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-SC) knows. And he’s going back in time to reintroduce the Stop Terrorists Entry Program Act (STEP), which he originally authored back in 2003. This wrong STEP Act seeks to ban ALL travelers from countries on the State Department “terrorism” list. This includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Barrett is also adding Yemen and former detainees from Guantanamo Bay in his bill. In a press release, Barrett stated:
While President Obama may have declared an end to the War on Terror, it is clear our enemies did not get the message. Twice in the past two months, radical Islamic terrorists have attacked our nation and the Administration has failed to adapt its national security and immigration policies to counter the renewed resolve of those who seek to harm our citizens […] In light of these unfortunate facts, I intend to introduce legislation that will enhance our national security through common sense changes to our current immigration laws.
Rep. Barrett is currently running for Governor of South Carolina and fully intends to capitalize on ignorance through fear politics. But not everyone is stupid. Even if this bill had been in place since 2003, it would not have stopped the American Army major and young Nigerian man who breached security and seems to be so much of a concern for Rep Barrett. As it happens, it also would not have stopped the 9/11 hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia.
Being an immigrant in the United States can be a harrowing experience. The post-9/11 securitization of immigration has created mass hysteria and an assumed criminality of any migrant that enters the United States. It is one of the reasons that President Obama and Chicago lost their bid to host the 2016 Olympics — other nation-states pointed fingers at how foreigners are treated at our ports of entry. And now we have Congresspersons like Barrett who think that banning and deporting immigrants by virtue of their nationality will enhance our security. Right.
The National Iranian American Council has already launched an action against the proposed legislation, noting that no Iranian has ever committed an act of terror on American soil and this bill unfairly targets legal Iranian workers and students in the United States. Can you email and call on Rep. Barrett to explain how his bill would stop “terrorists” and specifically, what the STEP Act would have done to stop the two incidents in the past two months that Barrett is using as justification for his bill? Take a few seconds and tell Rep Barrett to stop playing on fear to introduce racist and unconstitutional legislation such as the STEP Act, and do something real to enhance our security.
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