GOP pushes new law that would deny visas to Chinese spies, IP thieves

Congressional Republicans introduced a new bill Thursday (May 20) that would deny visas to individuals who have committed acts of espionage and intellectual property theft.

The latest bill, the Protecting America from Spies Act, was introduced by Republican U.S. Senators Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and fellow U.S. Rep. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).

The bill would allow the State Department to deny visas to individuals who have committed espionage or intellectual property theft against the United States. The Protecting America from Espionage Act would close a loophole in existing U.S. regulations that give deported foreign spies the right to immediately reapply for a visa to re-enter the United States.

The bill cites the closure of the U.S. Consulate General in Houston last year as an example of the Chinese Communist Party’s use of the consulate to spy on the Houston area and the entire Southwestern United States. Sen. Cruz and Rep. Hatzler had introduced a bill of the same name last July.

“The Chinese Communist Party has taken a nationwide approach to espionage and intellectual property theft and has gone to great lengths to try to infiltrate and steal information from the United States and U.S. institutions,” Cruz, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

He went on to write, “There is no better example than the State Department’s closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston last year, which the Chinese government used to carry out malicious acts, and neither those who seek to spy on the United States nor their families should ever again be allowed into our country.”

Senator Rubio also said in a statement that the Chinese Communist Party has done everything in its power to steal American corporate and academic secrets and results. “If a Chinese citizen has spied on us, we should have to presume that he or she will do so again,” Rubio said.

Under the contents of the Protecting America from Espionage Act, the bill would update the existing U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act to ensure that past, present and potential future (possible) espionage or technology transfer activities are considered inadmissible conditions of entry into the United States.

The bill would also address relatives of individuals who have committed acts of espionage. Spouses and children of aliens who engage in espionage or technology transfer would be barred from entering the United States for the next five years. The bill allows the State Department to waive these restrictions when necessary, such as when it must fulfill U.S. obligations under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement.