DHS Warns Anti-Israel Protests May Lead To Deportation for Some

A man holds up a Palestinian flag
A man holds up a Palestinian flag surrounding piled barricades at an encampment at George Washington University on April 29, 2024. | Image by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security warned that international students could be deported if suspended from their classes while in the United States on a student visa.

The stern warning comes amid a rise of anti-Israel protests on college campuses nationwide, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of students and faculty.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) took to X on April 21 to express her desire for steeper punishments for international college students participating in the recent protests. “Immediately deport all foreign students studying in the USA that support Hamas,” wrote Blackburn.

“We should also revoke federal student loans for any American student arrested for supporting Hamas,” she added.

Blackburn’s post was met with mixed responses.

“Maybe you don’t know this, Marsha, but we have free speech and freedom to protest in America. Why are you so UnAmerican?” responded X user Jory Micah.

One user, James Higgins, responded in support of Blackburn’s claims. “Exactly, @MarshaBlackburn. ALL the students in these violent anti-Jewish riots should be expelled immediately. And any who are not citizens or Green Card holders should be DEPORTED,” Higgins wrote.

However, deporting an international student studying in the United States involves a much more nuanced process.

International students must remain “in status” to complete their courses and be allowed to continue their studies in the United States under a student visa, a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told Fox News.

However, a student’s temporary suspension does not directly impact their status.

“If a student were to be suspended, DHS would need reason to believe that the student would not be able to make normal progress in his/her course of study,” the spokesperson said to Fox News. “And if it believed a suspension merited that type of decision, it would have to initiate removal proceedings, which would be done on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA).”

An immigration judge would ultimately decide whether to deport the student. Additionally, DHS cannot revoke visas. The State Department traditionally handles visa revocations, which even then may not lead to deportation but could prevent future entry into the United States.

Concerns continue to rise as anti-Israel protests take the country by storm. A recent protest at the University of Texas at Austin resulted in nearly 60 arrests, according to The Dallas Express, who was on the scene. A similar protest at Columbia University led to more than 130 protesters arrested.

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