WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently introduced the Protecting America from Spies Act, legislation that would allow the Department of State to deny visas to individuals who have committed acts of espionage or intellectual property theft against the United States. The legislation follows the State Department’s decision to close the Chinese Consulate in Houston in response to evidence of espionage and intellectual property theft.

“The active espionage efforts of the Chinese Communist Party to steal intellectual property are unacceptable,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation will punish foreign adversaries and deter additional efforts to undermine American leadership through intellectual property theft.”

Under current law, the Chinese Communist Party’s spies expelled from the U.S. have the ability to immediately reapply for visas. The Protecting America from Spies Act would update the Immigration and Naturalization Act to ensure past, present, and future espionage and tech-transfer activity is considered inadmissible for entry into the United States. It also:

  • Makes spouses and children of aliens engaged in espionage or tech-transfer inadmissible if the activity making them inadmissible occurred within the past five years.
  • Allows the State Department to waive these restrictions if necessary, such as to fulfill U.S. obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement.

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) filed the companion legislation in the House.

The full text of the legislation may be viewed here.

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