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house Bill H.R. 237

Revoking the Passports of Foreign Terrorist Organization Members and Affiliates

Argument in favor

Revoking the U.S. passport of someone who has joined or supported a terrorist group will keep America safe, and making their passport only valid for travel back into the U.S. will bring them right into the hands of law enforcement.

BTSundra's Opinion
This seems like a very obvious thing to do for national security.
Like (12)
PacificCstar's Opinion
Terrorists shouldn't get passports. This doesn't seem complicated.
Like (11)
Thomasina's Opinion
I think we should stop all people coming into this country until we can positively verify their identity and backgrounds efficiently.
Like (2)

Argument opposed

Potential terrorists will try to workaround having their passports revoked by obtaining falsified passports. And, if the would-be terrorists have second thoughts, revoking their passports may cut off their only way to escape.

Christopher's Opinion
There is no definition of 'terrorist'. If you've noticed people that are clearly not terrorists are being charged under anti-terrorism laws. This gives the government undue power to use a nebulous term and further abuse it.
Like (4)
David's Opinion
So now that Congress has passed a budget, they feel they can return to meddling in the business of the Executive branch? Enough already! How about focusing on a real jobs bill?
Like (2)
bishopdan761's Opinion
The government has not been very successful at keeping innocent children off the no fly list.
Like (2)

What is House Bill H.R. 237?

This bill would amend the Passport Act of 1926 to prohibit the Secretary of State from issuing a passport or passport card to any member, affiliate, or supporter of a foreign terrorist organization.

People who fit the above criteria could also have a passport or passport card that they already have revoked that by the Secretary of State. Before revoking the passport, the Secretary would be authorized to:

  • Limit a previously issued passport or passport card only for return travel to the U.S.

  • Issue a limited passport or passport card that only permits return travel to the U.S.

Exceptions could be made in emergencies or for humanitarian reasons allowing for the issuance of a passport or passport card.


People holding U.S. passports who have joined, aided, or are affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization; the State Department and the Secretary of State.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 237

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: The Brookings Institution estimated that as of September 2014 there were more than 100 Americans who joined extremist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria. It is speculated that about 12 of them have joined ISIS. In April 2015, six people in Minnesota and San Diego were arrested by the FBI for attempting to secure falsified passports and travel to Syria, with intentions to join ISIS.

A similar House proposal (stuck in committee) would revoke the citizenship of U.S. citizens who have engaged in acts of war against the U.S.

This bill was passed unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and has bipartisan cosponsors.

Of Note: Canada has already started revoking the passports of citizens who have joined extremist groups, despite concerns that it would eliminate the ability of those who have second thoughts from returning home.

The British have attempted to deal with this problem with proposal to strip UK passport holders of their passport for up to 30 days if they attempt to leave and join terror groups, and then bar them from returning for two to three years.


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user bewmies)


FTO Passport Revocation Act of 2015

Official Title

To authorize the revocation or denial of passports and passport cards to individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, and for other purposes.

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 21st, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Oversight and Investigations
    IntroducedJanuary 9th, 2015

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