Nicole Belle blogged this over at Crooks and Liars over the weekend, but I just got a chance to check out “GOP Congressman Introduces Bill To Ban and Deport All Immigrants From Designated “Terrorist” Countries:” Belle cites the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) blog, which states:
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.
Trita Parsi, President of NIAC, points out that neither of the latest two terrorist attacks in the United States would have been prevented by this narrow-minded piece of legislation. Parsi argues, in an “Open Letter to Congressman Gresham Barrett on His Plans to Deport All Iranian Visa Holders:”
Under the vision you offer, such important and inspiring figures as Christiane Amanpour, tennis great Andre Agassi, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar would have never called the United States home, nor would the United States benefit from the innumerable contributions to medicine, engineering, science, and academia that Iranian-Americans made in the last half-century.
Many Iranian-Americans came to this country to escape repression at home. We left the country we called home in search of a better, more secure future free from social, political, and religious repression. In the years that have ensued, we have established ourselves and our families in communities across the country and built new connections between Iranians and Americans. Now, thirty years later, Iranians face a new wave of repression at home, and people all over the world have witnessed Iranians stand up for their rights against a brutal government. [...]
You have said you are reintroducing the STEP Act in response to the Fort Hood shooting and the Christmas Day attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit. We hope you recognize that no Iranian has been involved in any of these attacks, or the 9/11 terrorist attacks for that matter. The individuals who carried out the Fort Hood attack and the Christmas day attempt — an American Army major and a Nigerian national — would not have been affected in the slightest by the sweeping provisions offered in your bill.