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On the Hill

Bush, Tlaib vote against bill barring Oct. 7 attackers from the U.S.

Tlaib said the bill is ‘unnecessary because it is redundant with already existing federal law’

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 07: U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), right, and Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speak at a press conference on the Israel-Hamas war outside of the U.S. Capitol on December 07, 2023 in Washington, DC. A group of Democratic lawmakers joined by members of Doctors Against Genocide called on a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) broke with the rest of the House on Wednesday evening to vote against a bill barring participants in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel from entering the United States. Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-IL) voted present on the bill, while 422 other lawmakers voted in favor.

The “No Immigration Benefits for Hamas Terrorists Act” would designate any members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and any other individuals involved in perpetrating, planning, funding or supporting the Oct. 7 attack on Israel as barred from the U.S. and from seeking any immigration relief from the U.S. 

It would also expand existing immigration restrictions barring some representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organization from the U.S. to include all PLO members.

Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA) described the bill as “widely duplicative of current law” in a memo to House Democrats. Hamas and PIJ members are already barred from the U.S., given that both are designated terror organizations, and any individual who provides material support to terrorism is also banned from the country.

In a statement, Tlaib said that the bill “is unnecessary because it is redundant with already existing federal law.”

“It’s just another GOP messaging bill being used to incite anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim hatred that makes communities like ours unsafe,” Tlaib said.

Bush offered a similar explanation, calling it “a redundant, empty messaging bill Republicans are using to target immigrants and incite anti-Palestinian hate.”

Wesley Bell, Bush’s primary opponent, condemned her vote in a statement to JI.

“Rep. Cori Bush’s vote today is shameful and reprehensible. She was one of only two people in the entire Congress to vote in favor of allowing terrorists who participated in the horrific October 7th attack on Israel to enter the United States,” Bell said. “Rep. Bush’s vote is offensive and embarrassing to our community. We will never be a safe haven for terrorists, and we need a Congressperson who knows better.” 

Ramirez also called the bill “unnecessary” and a “waste of resources and time.”

“I voted PRESENT because I am done with political games. The majority is wasting time bringing a bill that is already current law. There are ALREADY no immigration benefits for Hamas terrorists,” she said in a statement. “After participating for 15 hours of a sham impeachment, I could not stomach another bill only introduced to score cheap political points, politicize immigration, and divide our communities. Like the Republican’s sham impeachment, this bill does not meaningfully address border security nor further protect our communities.”

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