U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) this week 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. Last year, President Trump’s administration closed China’s Houston consulate, which the Chinese Communist Party was using to spy in Houston and throughout the Southwest. Sen. Cruz and Rep. Hartzler previously introduced a version of this legislation in July of 2020.
Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said:
“The Chinese Communist Party takes a whole-of-state approach to espionage and intellectual property theft, and relentlessly seeks to infiltrate and steal from America and American institutions. There is no better example of this than the State Department’s closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston last year, which the Chinese government was exploiting for malign purposes. People who try to spy on the U.S. and their family members should not be granted access to our country.”
Sen. Rubio said:
“We know that the Chinese Communist Party will spare no effort to steal from and exploit American companies and universities. If a Chinese citizen has spied on us before, we should absolutely assume he or she will do so again. This legislation prevents repeat offenders from gaining access to our country.”
Rep. Hartzler added:
“America is the holder of precious sensitive information and secrets which China will go to unimaginable lengths to obtain. When we catch these bad actors, America should be able to deny them access to our nation under any circumstances. The threat of China and the prevalence of its spies warrant strict and steadfast action to limit their destructive espionage efforts — which is why the Protecting America from Spies Act is urgently needed. I thank Sen. Cruz for his leadership and collaboration fighting the rise of China and its abusive actions.”
Read the full text of the Protecting America from Spies Act here.
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.