Congressman Gresham Barrett (R-SC) has announced his intention to reintroduce legislation that would prohibit “the admission of aliens from countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism as well as Yemen to the United States.”  The Stop Terrorist Entry Program (STEP) Act, first introduced in 2003, also would have required all persons from these countries on student visas, temporary work visas, exchange and tourist visas to leave the United States within 60 days, despite their legal status in the country.  Residents and nationals of Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen would be affected.

The bill makes an exception only in the cases of individuals who are seeking political or religious asylum, or who have immediate emergency medical needs.

Congressman Barrett said his bill came in response to the Fort Hood shooting and the Christmas-day attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit. “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.”

The American Army major and Nigerian alleged to have committed those attacks would not have been affected by the STEP Act.

In response to Barrett’s announcement, the National Iranian American Council has launched a campaign against the bill, saying it is “offensive to American principles, harmful to US interests, and discriminates against Iranians and Iranian Americans.”  The group also noted that no Iranian has ever committed a terrorist act on American soil.

The 2003 version of the bill is available online.  Congressman Barrett’s office did not respond to requests for comment.  Aside from the inclusion of Yemen, and a new provision to prohibit the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States, Congressman Barrett has not indicated any further differences between his new bill and the legislation he introduced in 2003.

Posted By David Elliott

David Elliott is the Assistant Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council.

    6 Responses to “Congressman Introducing Legislation to Bar & Deport Iranians from U.S.”

  1. this bill is a knee-jerk reaction…during WWII, we interned japanese americans in concentration camps. at the time, the public and political consensus was that it was the right decision. hindsight as, appropriately, changed that vision. it should not be lost on us that the government had the information they needed to address the two people involved in both acts referred to by the law-maker in this story. the government failed to properly process it…they didn’t do their jobs. people with proper documentation can be monitored if necessary, but to blanket a whole people with a policy is ignorant.

  2. Pirouz says:

    This legislation would potentially impact certain family members and staff of my local neighborhood persian food restaurant.

    I remember those Japanese-American intern camps. There was one located 20 miles south of San Francisco, where I did some growing up. The perimeter and elements of one guard tower were still in evidence as late as the 1960’s.

    This post’s photo brings back memories. In 1980, my family and I were entering a shopping mall, when a large biker type walked past us wearing a black T-shirt with bold white lettering that read “F***IRAN”.

  3. Bill says:

    So I’m looking at the guy with the sign. He looks Italian. In 1923, roughly 200,000 Italians immigrated into the US. In 1924, after the quota system went into effect, 4,000 Italians were allowed to immigrate.

    That system remained in place until 1965. The bill to repeal it was opposed solidly by the delegation from South Carolina, the first state to commit treason.

    I think he knows what I want him to do with his sign.

  4. Nathan says:

    It’s so disappointing that someone this utterly ignorant has been elected. I very, very rarely leave comments on blogs, but I wanted to write to let you know that you’re not alone in being completely blown away by this man’s stupidity. That you’re not alone in being insulted that this man hasn’t been run out of office long ago.

    I’ve been following the Iranian situation with exceptionally deep admiration for the brave men and women struggling for their freedom, it disgusts me that this man, a coward of the lowest nature, would happily pass a law barring them from ever entering this country. The truth is, we need more people like the brave Iranians, and none at all like this cowardly congressman.

    I truly hope you, and everyone who reads your site will do their utmost to spread the word about this deadbeat. I know I will.
    The sooner he’s voted out of office, the better.

  5. John Van Horn says:

    From South Carolina. I’m surprised he isn’t proposing legislation to revoke the citizenship of Blacks. Oh well, I suppose he just hasn’t gotten around to that one yet…

  6. afisher says:

    Ignoring all this rhetorical BS, in my wandering through the DOJ website, I came across an indictment against an American, who converted to the Muslim religion. His name: Daniel Boyd. Google the name and look at his picture…as he is not from South Carolina, but North Carolina, what does any such amendment hope to accomplish?

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