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house Bill H.R. 2037

Should Individuals Involved in Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Be Denied Permission to Enter or Remain in the U.S.?

Argument in favor

The truth about Jamal Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul still hasn’t been revealed to either Congress or the public, both of whom have a right to know what actually happened. This bill ensures that the truth will come out. Preventing such individuals from entering, or staying in, the U.S. would send a strong signal condemning Khashoggi’s killing.

John's Opinion
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07/15/2019
Absolutely! And let’s look into the role Kushner and 45 had in this murder. Accessories after the fact? Before the fact?
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Bhuvanesh's Opinion
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07/15/2019
Saudi Arabia is not an ally of the US any more than Iran is. We need to give a strong signal that we will not tolerate murders of US residents, especially ones ordered by the Saudi royalty. As part of this, we should sanction Saudi Arabia and ban any Saudi officials from entering or staying in the US.
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jimK's Opinion
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07/15/2019
America used to have ideals and those ideals have driven our reactions to world leaders and their countries. In the past our president, focused on the veracity of our guiding principles, would lead the way in taking some demonstrable action to show our disregard of others who would harm us or our residents. If the current administration won’t, thankfully Congress can lead the way. It is not about winning this or that “deal” (Saudi arms purchases), it is about honoring our values, our stated world commitments, acting honorably as a country, and preserving our future. Being honorable is often not expedient but is required if we ever hope to regain the respect of world leaders.
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Argument opposed

Publicizing the circumstances of Kashoggi’s killing will anger Saudi Arabia, which is one of America’s most important allies in the Middle East. The U.S. can’t afford to lose or undermine this important alliance. Additionally, a number of Saudi nationals have already been determined to have been involved in Khashoggi’s killing and punished appropriately.

Kyle's Opinion
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07/15/2019
Nah, let us prosecute on behalf of kashoggi. Justice lives in the U.S. bring them here, keep them here. Arrest, prosecute and deliver just rule upon those who have trespassed against their fellow man. Who knows what machinations will be enacted on their behalf if our courts do not control their fate? Let them not escape justice!
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Ronald's Opinion
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07/15/2019
America cannot presume to force Our Justice on another country, or events that occur there. We must enforce Our own laws, beginning with immigration. We have serious work to do.
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Mart's Opinion
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07/14/2019
If your lobby money didn’t buy you such nice cars, you’d stop selling weapons and let them abuse their own people rather than Yemeni babies with USA weapons.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2037?

This bill — the Saudi Arabia Human Rights and Accountability Act of 2019  — would require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to report to the Congress on foreign people who he determines played a role in killing Jamal Khashoggi or obstructed the ensuing investigation. Subsequently, the administration would be required to sanction such individuals by permanently denying them permission to travel to, enter into, or remain in the U.S. 

This bill would require the Secretary of State to: 

  • Assess whether the U.S. should restrict security assistance to Saudi Arabia; 
  • Report to Congress on violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia; and 
  • Describe actions taken by the United States to address those violations.

The visa ban could be lifted if Saudi Arabia were to meet several human rights conditions, including: 1) releasing unjustly detained journalists and civil society activists; 2) repealing restrictions on travel by women and 3) fully cooperating with international investigations into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Impact

Director of National Intelligence (DNI); Congress; the Secretary of State; Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia’s fulfillment of human rights conditions; Saudi Arabians and others who played a role in killing Jamal Khashoggi; Jamal Khashoggi; and visas issued to Saudi Arabians who played a role in killing Jamal Khashoggi.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2037

The CBO estimates that satisfying the reporting requirements in this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2019-2024 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) introduced this bill to punish those responsible for the brutal assassination of U.S. resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the six month anniversary of Khashoggi’s killing

“The Saudi government has claimed, contrary to all evidence, that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a rogue operation, not directed by the country’s leaders. If all we do is sanction the rogues, we will reinforce their cover story. This bill ensures that the authors of the crime will be held accountable. It tells the Saudi government that no relationship and no leader is important enough for the United States to tolerate the murder of those who have sought safety on our soil.”

In remarks at a Capitol Hill memorial honoring Khashoggi on the 100th day after his murder, Rep. Malinowski excoriated Saudi leadership for the journalist’s killing and singled out Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his suspected lead role in the killing. He noted “the chaos this man has sown, from the war in Yemen to the blockade of Qatar” and said that as “the author of the crime, the man who ordered it, [he] must be held accountable.” Rep. Malinowski said, “If we decide that he is too powerful or that our relationship with him is too important to speak the truth, then he owns us, and Saudi Arabia owns America, and I cannot accept that as a member of Congress.” 

While calling on the White House to use the Global Magnitsky Act to warn the House of Saud that “while you may choose your own leaders, you might want to consider the consequences of giving the keys to your kingdom for the next 50 years to someone who will be forever tainted by this crime,” Rep. Malinowski also said that Congress will step in if the administration fails to “do what’s right” with regards to bin Salman. He said, “We can and should wipe the smug smile of impunity off Mohammed bin Salman’s face, and restore proper balance to our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

In response to Rep. Malinowski’s questioning during his appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the Trump administration is already doing what it can to identify and punish those responsible for Khashoggi’s death. He said, “We are continuing to develop the fact set using all the tools that we have at our disposal. As we identify individuals who we can hold accountable for the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi, we will do so.”

In a joint op-ed in The Hill, Michael De Dora, Washington Advocacy Manager, and Courtney C. Radsch, Director of Advocacy at the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed their support for this bill. They wrote

“President Trump continues to oppose sanctions against the de facto leader, and even recently bypassed Congress to push through an arms deal with Saudi Arabia… Congress should…  ensure any individuals who were involved in Khashoggi's murder face economic and visa sanctions, including the Crown Prince, unless his lack of responsibility is confirmed. One potential source for a roadmap: the Saudi Arabia Human Rights and Accountability Act of 2019. The bill, introduced by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) on the six-month anniversary of Khashoggi’s murder, requires the director of National Intelligence to provide Congress a list of individuals determined to be responsible for the crime. Those listed would be denied entry to the United States. The bill also includes a sanctions off-ramp. If Saudi Arabia meets several key human rights conditions—including the release of unjustly detained journalists, and full cooperation with international investigations into Khashoggi’s murder—the visa bans could be lifted. In respect for the gravity of this crime, members of Congress should take a closer look at Malinowski’s bill and consider whether it is worth their support, or whether it provides a source of inspiration for a fresh approach. Key to the success of any legislation will be bipartisan support.”

This bill has the support of the Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch.


Of NoteJamal Khashoggi was a well-known journalist and critic of the Saudi government. For decades, he was close to the Saudi royal family and served as an advisor to the government.  However, he fell out of favor and went into self-imposed exile in the U.S. in 2017, from where he wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post in which he criticized the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS.

Khashoggi first visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on September 28, 2018 to obtain divorce documents to allow him to remarry, but was told to return and arranged to come back on October 2, 2018, when he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Initially, Saudi officials denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, and MBS told Bloomberg News that he’d left the consulate “after a few minutes or one hour.” Eventually, on October 20, 2018, state television reported that Khashoggi had been murdered in a “rogue operation” on an intelligence officer’s orders. However, Saudi officials’ accounts of what had happened continued to differ. Ultimately, on November 15, 2018, the Saudi public prosecutor said Khashoggi was given a lethal injection after a struggle, and his body was dismembered inside the consulate after his death.

To date, Saudi Arabia has detained 21 Saudi nationals and dismissed two senior officials in connection with the killing. Saudi King Salman has also ordered a restructuring of the intelligence services — to be headed by MBS. So far, 11 people have been charged in connection with Khashoggi’s death, and the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty in five cases, although none of those officially charged have been identified.

After Khashoggi’s killing and the Saudi government’s admission in late October 2018 that the murder was premeditated, the U.S. government has taken “little action” in response. In late 2018, members of Congress triggered the Magnitsky Act, requiring the president to identify the perpetrators of Khashoggi’s murder and submit a report to Congress within 120 days. However, the report that’s resulted from this investigation has been criticized by some as insufficient.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) has stated that he’s satisfied with the Trump administration’s probe into Khashoggi’s death, even while several GOP lawmakers have complained that the administration hasn’t complied with a law requiring them to make a determination in the killing. Politico reports:

“Many Senate Republicans widely believe that Khashoggi was killed at the direction of the Saudi kingdom after hearing from top administration officials last year. But President Donald Trump has declined to join them in that determination even though U.S. intelligence reportedly concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing. Though the Magnitsky Act required the administration to respond to a bipartisan request asking them to come to a conclusion, the White House last week declined to meet the deadline to reply. Multiple Senate Republicans said in interviews on Monday night that they were angry about the administration's move to not comply with the law.”

However, Sen. Risch argues that the administration is acting in good faith to investigate Khashoggi’s death:

"We have had numerous briefings and meetings with the administration where we put the information together that we have, that they had, and like I say it's a work in progress. They've been very forthcoming with us ... they're working in good faith to reach a conclusion on this with some direct evidence."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) disputes Sen. Risch’s assertion, saying that the response the State Dept. transmitted to Congress fell well short of the obligations under the Magnitsky Act:

“The Administration failed to meet its legal requirement to make a determination of responsibility for this heinous murder and report to Congress. I am very disappointed that the response from Secretary Pompeo doesn’t come close to fulfilling the statutory mandate and demonstrates what the administration has wanted all along — the Khashoggi murder to be forgotten. I will continue to push for the President to fully hold accountable those responsible for the death of Mr. Khashoggi and to uphold United States laws.”

In July 2019, House Democrats passed their version of this year’s defense authorization act — a piece of legislation that’s often called “must-pass” because it authorizes funding for the military. Among the amendments offered to the bill were three authored by Rep. Malinowski which focused on the Saudis: 1) a yearlong ban on selling U.S. bombs to Riyadh and its chief partner in the bloody Yemen intervention, the United Arab Emirates; 2) no more money for the two main aspects of U.S. support for that effort, intelligence-sharing and logistical help; and 3) a requirement for the Trump administration to name all people it knows to be involved in the assassination of Khashoggi and place sanctions on them ― a move that would likely target people beyond the 17 Saudi officials already blacklisted for the murder and possibly affect Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Before the vote, Rep. Malinowski expressed optimism about his amendments’ prospects, saying, “I’m reasonably confident that we can get it done in the House.”

Ultimately, the amendment providing for a one-year ban on air-to-ground munitions sold to Saudi Arabia which are being used in the Yemen conflict (H.Amdt.561 to H.R.2500) passed by a 236-182 vote. The amendment requiring an ODNI determination of the parties responsible for Khashoggi’s death, imposing visa sanctions with a national security waiver for those responsible for the killing and requiring a report on human rights in Saudi Arabia (Amdt.475) was also adopted. The amendment requiring study on the United States’ ability to monitor exports of surveillance-related capabilities and their potential for abuse by foreign governments wasn’t adopted.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Enes Evren)

AKA

Saudi Arabia Human Rights and Accountability Act of 2019

Official Title

To encourage accountability for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house Passed July 15th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 405 Yea / 7 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedApril 2nd, 2019

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    Absolutely! And let’s look into the role Kushner and 45 had in this murder. Accessories after the fact? Before the fact?
    Like (125)
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    Nah, let us prosecute on behalf of kashoggi. Justice lives in the U.S. bring them here, keep them here. Arrest, prosecute and deliver just rule upon those who have trespassed against their fellow man. Who knows what machinations will be enacted on their behalf if our courts do not control their fate? Let them not escape justice!
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    Saudi Arabia is not an ally of the US any more than Iran is. We need to give a strong signal that we will not tolerate murders of US residents, especially ones ordered by the Saudi royalty. As part of this, we should sanction Saudi Arabia and ban any Saudi officials from entering or staying in the US.
    Like (88)
    Follow
    Share
    America used to have ideals and those ideals have driven our reactions to world leaders and their countries. In the past our president, focused on the veracity of our guiding principles, would lead the way in taking some demonstrable action to show our disregard of others who would harm us or our residents. If the current administration won’t, thankfully Congress can lead the way. It is not about winning this or that “deal” (Saudi arms purchases), it is about honoring our values, our stated world commitments, acting honorably as a country, and preserving our future. Being honorable is often not expedient but is required if we ever hope to regain the respect of world leaders.
    Like (69)
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    The Trump administration deports brown people for a parking fine. The brutal capture, torture, murder, and dismemberment of a journalist should certainly be enough to deny admission.
    Like (48)
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    You mean they’re not denied permission already! They must be friends of trumps. If you’re a murder or you molest people he’s your kind if guy.
    Like (37)
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    I'm pretty disgusted this is even a question. He may not have been a citizen, but he was a legal resident and as a human being, he deserves more justice than he is likely to get.
    Like (31)
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    This was a terrorist act. Should be treated as such
    Like (26)
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    Yes. And if they discover that Jared Kushner was in any way involved, his security clearances must be summarily revoked. In fact, even while he is suspected of involvement, his security clearances should be withheld to prevent his using them to do further harm or to give aid to possible co-conspirators.
    Like (22)
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    Do we NEED more MURDERERS in this country??? Insane, we can continue to punish men, women, children, babies when they’re just trying to make a better life for themselves but it’s perfectly fine to be friends and confidantes with people who can kill, behead and dismember someone (probably more) who disagreed with them!!!! This country priorities are totally screwed up!!!
    Like (17)
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    Let’s see. The question here seems to be: should we hold murderers accountable for their crimes? I’m getting a sense that people who occupy a space in reality would say yes. If you’re a member of the Trump family, however, then it’s all about what they are getting in return, because the entire universe should revolve around them. To my representatives in Congress, I urge you to do whatever you can, take any vote, that would counter the interests of the Saudi regime. Stop them, ban them from our country, freeze their assets. Do whatever it takes to make them accountable for what they did to that man Kashoggi.
    Like (15)
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    They should be arrested and jailed as well.
    Like (15)
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    Of course they should not be allowed to enter or do business in the U.S. We should not sink to their level they should rise up to ours. There are things more important than money.
    Like (14)
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    Saudi Arabia and MbS should be punished for Khashoggi murder. What a heinous crime. What a disgusting, despicable act.
    Like (13)
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    This should not even be a question! Trump wants to deport hard-working taxpaying immigrants, so why would anyone allow real KILLERS into this country??
    Like (12)
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    Why would we consider allowing known murders enter the U.S.? They should all be locked up and if they are not should certainly be kept out of our country. First on that list should be MBS. In addition 45 and his family should be banned from having contact with MBS and his murderers. Hold them accountable!!
    Like (12)
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    This administration worries about immigrants trying to seek asylum from violent countries, yet doesn’t seem to care about murderers from oppressive countries. The reason boils down to money, not morals. Human dignity and justice should be championed as basic human rights. Our country used to stand for these things and should again.
    Like (11)
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    America cannot presume to force Our Justice on another country, or events that occur there. We must enforce Our own laws, beginning with immigration. We have serious work to do.
    Like (11)
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    Including MBS...but should we be trying to extradite any of these killers of an American Journalist?!?! And what about those 2 Saudi
    Like (10)
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    This is s non Question. Either they get arrested OR DO NOT GET INTO THE US for any reason.
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