WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Whip [crscore]Dick Durbin[/crscore] apparently parted with the administration Tuesday and told The Daily Caller he believes the passports of Americans who go overseas and fight for ISIS should be revoked — “or more.”
The House passed a bill in July to revoke passports of individuals involved in the Islamic State. The bill, proposed by Texas Republican Rep. [crscore]Ted Poe[/crscore], would allow the secretary of state to deny the issuance or revoke passports of U.S. citizens found to be aiding terrorists. Similar bills were proposed in the past but never made it to a vote in the Senate.
During a December 2014 House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing, Florida Republican Rep. [crscore]Ron DeSantis[/crscore] asked Ambassador Robert Bradtke if the State Department had cancelled any U.S. citizens who have joined any terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.
“As Secretary Kerry said, he does have the authority to revoke passports. And this is something we would only do in relatively rare and unique circumstances because of the importance for average Americans [to] have the freedom to travel,” Bradtke said.
“We would only do it also in consultations with law enforcement authorities. And we have not yet had any requests from law enforcement authorities to cancel the passports of ISIS or foreign fighters. So again, we have the authority; it is one tool; we do have other tools to use as well in this regard.”
FBI director James Comey said in October that Americans fighting with ISIS “entitled” to return to the United States. According to the agency, more than 200 Americans have tried to fight for ISIS, The Hill reported in July.
“Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with an American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully,” Comey said in a “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley.
Poe’s passport revocation bill is currently in the Senate and Senate Majority Whip [crscore]John Cornyn[/crscore] told TheDC will be looking more closely at the bill.
“It’ll be tough to get it through the Senate,” House Homeland Security Chair [crscore]Michael McCaul[/crscore] told TheDC, “and [the president] will veto it.”