SC congressman’s bill would deport those on terror watch list

The State by Bristow Marchant

A South Carolina congressman has reintroduced legislation that would deport some non-U.S. citizens who end up on the terrorist watch list.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, reintroduced the Terrorist Deportation Act on Friday, a bill substantially similar to legislation Duncan sponsored last year.

The act would mandate that anyone without U.S. citizenship or permanent residency placed in the government’s terrorist screening database eligible for “immediate and mandatory” deportation proceedings.

“My bill will make it harder for suspected terrorists to come to America and easier for our law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals to remove suspected terrorists who are already here,” Duncan said in a statement.

Duncan originally filed the 2016 bill in response to bipartisan legislation backed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that sought to prevent people on the “no fly” list for U.S. airports from buying firearms. Supporters called the bill “No Fly, No Buy,” so Duncan called his bill “No Fly, Goodbye.”

Duncan initially floated the idea in a tweet storm last July, in response to the terrorist attack in Nice, France.

The consolidated terror watch list has more than 1 million names. The FBI estimates that less than 1 percent of the people on these lists are U.S. persons, meaning citizens or those living legally in the United States.

Some have criticized the opaque process by which some have been placed on the watch list, but Duncan said his legislation “will provide a legal avenue for those mistakenly in the terrorist database and the related no-fly list.”

“While we are making America safer for our citizens, we must also do everything we can to protect the rights of American citizens who are mistakenly caught up in terror investigations,” Duncan said.