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Congresswoman Hartzler, Colleagues Introduce Protecting America from Spies Act

July 28, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas introduced the bicameral Protecting America from Spies Act to 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 Protecting America from Spies Act updates the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) to ensure past, present, and future espionage and tech-transfer activity is considered inadmissible for entry into the United States. Under current law, the Chinese Communist Party’s spies expelled from the United States can immediately reapply for visas.

"It is past time to stop known Chinese spies from coming back into our country. Current laws only allow individuals to be denied entry if the consular officer has knowledge of future espionage plans. Our country needs to be protected so known bad actors are not allowed to steal from us again. I thank my House colleagues for joining me in this effort, and Senators Cruz, Rubio, Tillis, and Loeffler for introducing the Senate companion bill,” Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler said.
 
Specifically, the Protecting America from Spies Act will:

  • Update the INA to ensure past, present, and future espionage and tech-transfer activity is considered inadmissible for entry into the United States.
  • Make spouses and children of aliens engaged in espionage or tech-transfer inadmissible if the activity making them inadmissible occurred with the past five years. This is modeled after the terrorism activity section of the INA.
  • Allow the State Department to waive these restrictions if necessary, such as to fulfill U.S. obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreements.

“For too long China and our competitors have been using non-traditional forms of espionage against our country without any consequences. The State Department’s recent closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston due to the Communist Chinese Party actively engaging in espionage and intellectual property theft was an important step, but more needs to be done. That’s why today my colleagues and I are introducing legislation to strengthen our laws and protect our national security by ensuring that any individuals who attempt to spy or steal from the United States and their family members are denied access to our country,” Senator Ted Cruz said.
 
“I am proud to support this legislation and applaud Rep. Hartzler’s leadership on this issue. America’s strategic competitors, especially the Chinese Communist Party, are determined to steal their way to technological success and have launched concerted espionage campaigns targeting leading universities and innovative American businesses,” Congressman Mike Rogers said.


“As the Chinese Communist Party expands its efforts to steal critical technologies, it is past time to modernize our defenses. I am proud to support this common-sense legislation to enhance screening and better defend American innovation from the Chinese Communist Party,” Congressman Mike Gallagher said.
   
Please click here for the full text of the House version of the legislation. Click here for a full list of cosponsors of the House version of the bill.
 
For further information, contact Danny Jativa in the Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-2876 or at danny.jativa@mail.house.gov