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Trump vows to expel Hamas supporters from US if reelected

Courtesy: Geo News/Reuters

Donald Trump “promised” on Monday that if re-elected, he would ban anybody who backs Hamas from entering the country and dispatch law enforcement to pro-Hamas demonstrations to apprehend and expunge foreign supporters.

Trump made these pledges during a campaign visit in Iowa while responding to the Hamas killing of at least 1,400 Israelis that started a conflict in which, according to Palestinian health officials, Israel has martyred over 2,800 Palestinians in Gaza.

He said that if elected to a second White House term he would ban entry to the US of anybody who does not believe in Israel’s right to exist, and revoke the visas of foreign students who are “antisemitic”, Reuters reported.

Additionally, he also vowed to step up travel bans from “terror-plagued countries.” He did not explain how he would enforce his demands, including the one requiring immigrants to support Israel’s right to exist under what he called “strong ideological screening.”

Trump’s immigration policies faced court challenges, as they included a ban on Muslim-majority immigrants. The Supreme Court upheld the ban, but it was struck down in lower courts. Biden ended the ban when he took office.

Trump said on Monday he would ban immigrants from Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen “or anywhere else that threatens our security”. Trump also read a poem that he used to liken immigrants to deadly snakes.

Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, described Trump’s pledges as Islamophobic, extreme and designed to exploit “fear and anxiety.”

Trump is currently leading the race for the White House nomination, with his tough stance on immigrants being a key element of his first term, and he faces Democratic President Joe Biden in November 2024.

Promising to drastically tighten US immigration laws, Trump said: “If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified, if you support Hamas or the ideology behind Hamas, you’re disqualified, and if you’re a communist, Marxist, or fascist, you are disqualified.”

Most of Trump’s Republican rivals have condemned Hamas and offered full-throated support for an expected Israeli invasion of Gaza, but none has laid out such a tough series of proposals to keep people out of and expel Hamas sympathisers from the US.

The US along with several other countries have designated Hamas a “terrorist organisation”.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of Trump’s Republican rivals for the presidential nomination, said on Monday he favoured the deportation of foreign students who support Hamas and would bar Gaza refugees from the US if elected president.

Trump last week accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being unprepared for the Hamas attacks and called Hezbollah — a group of Lebanese fighters — “very smart.”

His Iowa remarks appeared to be an effort in part to blunt that criticism.

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