News Releases

Attorney General Griffin Leads 20-State Coalition Calling for Removal of Student Visa Holders Who Provide Support to Terror Groups

Griffin: ‘Threats of violence against Jews are anathema to our American values and all who respect human dignity’

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Tim Griffin today sent a letter on behalf of a coalition of 20 state attorneys general to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas calling for the prompt removal of foreign student visa holders who are found to have endorsed terror activity or provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations. After sending the letter, Griffin issued the following statement:

“Antisemitism and anti-Israel activity are unwelcome in Arkansas. Threats of violence against Jews are anathema to our American values and all who respect human dignity.

“Since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, where 1,400 men, women, children and babies were killed and 240 were taken captive, college campuses have become a glowing hotbed of antisemitic activity and threats of violence against Jewish students and people at a time when Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group linked to both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad—two entities designated by the U.S. Department of State as ‘foreign terrorist organizations’—issued a ‘call to action’ asking its college chapters to hold demonstrations on campuses across the country.

“As state attorneys general, we are concerned that foreign students admitted to colleges in the United States on student visas may be supporting terrorist activity through membership in SJP and are ineligible to hold a student visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Therefore, in light of the recent, disturbing surge of antisemitic activity and threats of violence, we ask the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security to vigorously renew vetting of foreign student visa holders and promptly remove any who are found to have endorsed or espoused terrorist activity or provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations.”

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that “[a]ny alien who … endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization” is “ineligible to receive [a] visa[] and ineligible to be admitted to the United States.” 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(i)(VII). Additionally, anyone who “knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so” commits a federal crime. 18 U.S.C. 2339B(a)(1).

Under Arkansas law, providing material support for a terrorist act is a Class Y felony. Ark. Code Ann. 5-54-202. Additionally, Act 710 of 2017 prohibits the state from contracting with, or investing in, companies that boycott Israel. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an ACLU-led challenge to that law by a 9-1 margin, and earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to overturn that ruling.

Griffin was joined in his letter by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia. Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

To read Griffin’s letter, click here.

About Attorney General Tim Griffin

Tim Griffin was sworn in as the 57th Attorney General of Arkansas on January 10, 2023, having previously served as the state’s 20th Lieutenant Governor from 2015-2023. From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District, where he served on the House Committee on Ways and Means, House Armed Services Committee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Ethics and House Committee on the Judiciary while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority.

Griffin has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps for more than 27 years and currently holds the rank of colonel. In 2005, Griffin was mobilized to active duty as an Army prosecutor at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq.

He is currently serving as the Commander of the 2d Legal Operations Detachment in New Orleans, Louisiana. His previous assignments include serving as the Commander of the 134th Legal Operations Detachment at Fort Liberty (née Bragg), North Carolina, and as a Senior Legislative Advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon. Griffin earned a master’s degree in strategic studies as a Distinguished Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Griffin also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush; Special Assistant to Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Arkansas; Senior Investigative Counsel, Government Reform and Oversight Committee, U.S. House of Representatives; and Associate Independent Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel David M. Barrett, In re: HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.

Griffin is a graduate of Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway, and Tulane Law School in New Orleans. He attended graduate school at Oxford University. He is admitted to practice law in Arkansas (active) and Louisiana (inactive). Griffin attends Immanuel Baptist Church and lives in Little Rock with his wife, Elizabeth, a Camden native, and their three children.