US Reps Bush, Tlaib vote no on ‘redundant’ bill to ban Oct 7 terrorists

United States Congresswomen Cori Bush (D-MO) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were the sole votes against a bill in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday that would bar entry to the United States by members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, as well as officers of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and anyone who participated in the October 7 attacks but is not a member of a recognized terrorist group. Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-IL) voted ‘present.’

Representative Tlaib, who represents one of the most Democratic districts in Michigan and is the only Palestinian-American currently in Congress, said that the bill was “redundant” as entry to those who have participated in terrorism, such as the October 7 attacks or who are members of a recognized terrorist group, such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad, is already prohibited. This echoed statements by Democratic leadership, such as the House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, whose statement said the bill was “largely duplicative of existing law.” 

The “unnecessary” bill, Tlaib said, is “just another GOP messaging bill being used to incite anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Muslim hatred that makes communities like ours unsafe.” The progressive congresswoman included the bill in a list of four immigration measures up for a vote, all of which she opposed, calling them “racist, fear-mongering bills that do nothing to fix our outdated and inhumane immigration system.” 

The US Capitol building is seen in Washington, US, November 16, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ)

Bill was among a package of measures that Tlaib rejected as redundant, divisive

The other bills in question were H.R. 6678, which would include allegations of social security fraud as a grounds for exclusion and deportation— a measure Tlaib opposed on due process grounds; H.R. 6976, which would include DUI convictions as a basis for deportation— which Tlaib said would create a “separate and unequal” system of justice for immigrants; and H.R. 5585, impose new criminal penalties for evading Border Patrol, a measure Tlaib rejected on the grounds that it too is “redundant,” adding, “it’s clear that the point of this bill is simply to demonize migrants and asylum seekers” 

Representative Bush of Missouri explained her vote against the bill along the same lines as Tlaib, calling the measure “a redundant, empty messaging bill Republicans are using to target immigrants and incite anti-Palestinian hate.” In a statement to Jewish Insider, Bush’s primary opponent, Wesley Bell, called the vote “shameful and reprehensible,” adding, “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.”

Reps. Tlaib and Bush, known as part of the progressive ‘squad’ in the House, alongside fellow Democrats such as Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Jamaal Bowman, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been among Congress’s fiercest critics of Israel’s war in Gaza, and among the few calling for a ceasefire even prior to Israel’s ground invasion, without conditioning such a ceasefire on Hamas’s surrender or the return of hostages.

Illinois rep. abstains, calling the bill redundant, “a waste of resources and time”

“Like the Republican’s sham impeachment, this bill does not meaningfully address border security nor further protect our communities. H.R.6679 is unnecessary. It’s a waste of resources and time. And I’m not playing along,” Ramirez’s statement concluded.

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