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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Sign the Petition


7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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