Revoke Hate-Speakers F-1 Visas, Says Senator

Revoke Hate-Speakers F-1 Visas, Says Senator

By Joe Guzzardi

The coast-to-coast college rioting and destruction that marked late April and early May should draw attention to international students and precipitate a demand from fed up citizen taxpayers that the federal government tighten up the F-1/J-1 student visa guidelines. Participating in the criminal behavior at Columbia, Penn, UCLA, USC, North Carolina, and NYU, among dozens of other prominent universities, were students holding temporary non-immigrant visas.  More than one million foreign-born students including 45,000 from the Middle East arrived on U.S. campuses in academic year 2022/2023. The premise is that the visa programs give foreign-born university students an opportunity to study in the U.S. so that they will be better able to contribute to their countries advancement when they return home. But, in practice, many foreign students remain in the U.S. and hire on with an American company, thus displacing citizen job seekers. Overstaying non-immigrant visas is an easily done crime especially since no one in federal immigration enforcement seeks them out.

From highly selective UCLA—only 8.8 percent of its 145,904 applicants are admitted—more than 3,000 students from 85 nations arrive on mostly F-1 student visas, but also on J-1 exchange visas. Although UC Berkeley has long been considered the gem of the UC system, its overall admission acceptance rate is 11.6%, 125,910 applications and 14,566 accepted. Cal’s international F-1/J-1 enrollment is 7,343.

UCLA’s anti-Semitic gang activity was uglier than Cal’s, but the Golden Bears had a critical free speech showdown. Pro-Palestinian students and their outside agitator comrades set up about 15 tents on the steps of Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Monday afternoon, vowing to stay put until the university system officially called for an end to the Israel-Hamas war, cut its study-abroad program with Israel and divests from companies with ties to Israel. Berkeley Law School student Malak Afaneh, co-president of Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine, finally gave the speech Jewish law school Dean Erwin Chemerinsky prevented her from giving at an invitation-only lunch he and his civil rights law professor wife, Catherine Fisk, hosted at their home. In front of Fisk and Chemerinsky’s house, Afaneh yelled: “I will keep shouting this speech from the rooftops until Palestine is free.”

In a statement published on the Berkeley Law website, Chemerinsky said that he and his wife had been inviting students to their home for dinner since he became a dean. “I never imagined that something that we do to help our community would become ugly and divisive,” he said. Chemerinsky continued: “I am enormously sad that we have students who are so rude as to come into my home, in my backyard, and use this social occasion for their political agenda.

“We’re willing to risk suspension,” said Afaneh, a third-year law student and a Palestinian-American, who believes a Palestinian state should replace the country of Israel. “We’re willing to risk expulsion; we’re willing to risk arrest. We’re willing to risk anything to stand here until we achieve our demands for divestment.”  Chemerinsky responded, correctly, to Afaneh’s invocation of the Constitution when he countered: “This is my house! The First Amendment doesn’t apply!” One lawyer’s interpretation held by most constitutional scholars: —“public university students don’t have a First Amendment right to take over a backyard dinner party — even one their school is hosting.” And from George Washington University professor of public interest law Johathan Turley’s blog: “Regrettably, the scene that unfolded at the home of Dean Chemerinsky will be viewed by many as a triumph rather than an embarrassment for their cause. Disruption has become the touchstone of protests in higher education.” At the same time in what should be a ten-alarm fire warning for Americans watching U.S. sovereignty erode, schools like UCLA have paid activists-in-residence or now bestow degrees in activism.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Harvard Law School, J.D. 2002, after observing the campus chaos and violence, said “And by the way, any of these students who are foreigners here on visas should immediately have their visas revoked by the Biden Administration, be promptly deported. They have no right to be here. They certainly have no right to be here spewing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel filth.” Deporting lawbreakers is, however, inconsistent with Biden’s immigration agenda which is to reward, not punish, criminals.

Revoke Hate-Speakers F-1 Visas, Says Senator

Joe Guzzardi is an Institute for Sound Public Policy analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at

Revoke Hate-Speakers F-1 Visas

2 thoughts on “Revoke Hate-Speakers F-1 Visas, Says Senator”

  1. This situation requires a nuanced approach and not a sledgehammer. First, if a non-immigrant visa holder of any sort breaks the law in a way that causes danger or harm to others, they should be considered for expulsion on those grounds depending on the severity of their crime. Second, if a non-immigrant visa holder overstays their visa, they should not be permitted to work and it should be illegal to hire them – – and the law should be enforced! Once caught, the overstayer should be deported and not permitted to return for a long enough period to make overstaying something they don’t want to do. Overstayers should be denied professional licenses of all types and employers who hire them need to be sanctioned. Now, for the nuanced part – – all persons in the United States are entitled to free speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion. I don’t agree with the current crop of college “protestors” and fully believe they have been incited by dark forces. Had the affected colleges taken appropriate policing measures sooner, the tent cities and major disruptions could have been avoided. We know this because of how quickly those that did take appropriate action were able to disband the “protests.” For those in the protestor groups who broke the law by damaging property or causing harm to others, they need to be dealt with criminally and, if they are here as our guests and they are found guilty, then revocation of their visas may be appropriate. However, I do not support throwing he visa holders out because I disagree with their politics or their speech, as much as I do! That is simply un-American.

    1. I agree, Andrew. I am concerned that if we start saying that hate speech or politically incorrect speech or “anti-Israeli filth” speech is a form of wrongdoing that merits deportation for student visa holders, it takes almost no steps to get to the point where we are saying it merits some sort of punishment for American citizens, also.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if there were one whole political party that believed in free speech? I ran from the Democrats, in part due to this issue, but I’m not finding refuge among Republicans such as Tom Cotton.

      As you say, overstaying visas is a totally different issue. Of course, that should be illegal and should lead to deportation. Too, if we were talking about issuing fewer student visas in the first place, that would also be fine.

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