Today, Congressman J. Gresham Barrett (SC-03) announced that in response to recent failures in national security, he will update and reintroduce the Stop Terrorists Entry Program Act, which he originally authored back in 2003. The STEP Act of 2010 amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar admission of aliens from countries that have strong ties to terrorist regimes and also from the terrorist detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Barrett released the following statement regarding his proposed legislation:
"While President Obama may have declared an end to the War on Terror, it is clear our enemies did not get the message. Twice in the past two months, radical Islamic terrorists have attacked our nation and the Administration has failed to adapt its national security and immigration policies to counter the renewed resolve of those who seek to harm our citizens. More disturbingly, the President stands by his decision to close the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay despite reports that released prisoners were behind the Christmas Day bomb plot.
"In light of these unfortunate facts, I intend to introduce legislation that will enhance our national security through common sense changes to our current immigration laws. The STEP Act of 2010 bars the admission of aliens from countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism as well as Yemen to the United States. Additionally, the STEP Act prohibits the transfer of the terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to our nation."
The State Department has indentified the following states as sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. Given recent reports of increased levels of terrorist activities in Yemen, Congressman Barrett has requested that its citizens not be allowed to enter the United States.
Individuals seeking political or religious asylum or emergency medical treatment may be exempt from these provisions, only after an extensive federal screening.