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North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer pushes bill to ban Chinese Communist Party members from getting certain visas

Cramer says the United States needs a "strategic decoupling from China."

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Graphic by Carli Greninger/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – North Dakota's Kevin Cramer is among a group of Republican U.S. senators who have introduced legislation to ban certain non-immigrant visas to members of the Chinese Communist Party.

According to a release from Cramer's office, the legislation is intended to disincentivize Chinese citizens from joining the CCP and further restrict espionage and propaganda operations. It would ban B-1 and B-2 non-immigrant visas to CCP members; at present, CCP members are eligible to receive the visas for vacations and to perform non-official government business.

Joining Cramer on the bill are Sens. Marco Rubio, of Florida; Rick Scott, of Florida; and Tommy Tuberville, of Alabama.

“You don’t need to have CIA-level clearance to know China is a bad actor,” Cramer said in a statement on his website. “We need a strategic decoupling from China. Every day, the CCP actively works against the United States’ interests. Our bill provides greater scrutiny of visas for Chinese Communist Party members regardless of how long they want to enter our country.”

In recent months, Cramer has been vocal with his concerns about China, including the proposed corn milling plant that China-based Fufeng Group plans to build on the north end of Grand Forks. In August, Cramer and fellow North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven advised local and state leaders to not move forward with the Fufeng Project. Both brought up security concerns they believe could exist with the plant's close proximity to Grand Forks Air Force Base.

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Also in August, Cramer and Hoeven expressed interest in a bill introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., that would bar entities linked with China and other countries from buying land or agricultural businesses in the United States.

Amid the concerns of the senators, city leaders — including Mayor Brandon Bochenski, City Administrator Todd Feland and a majority of the City Council — have remained steadfast in their interest in moving ahead with the Fufeng plan.

"For us to say that it’s gotten hard and we’re just going to give up or let go, that’s an awfully hard symbol,” Feland said in August. “... Mayor Bochenski, city administration and the City Council are not going to send the message out that when the going gets tough, the city of Grand Forks gives up.”

Tuesday, Feland declined to comment further. In August, however, he said the city will not “harm our community environmentally, from an engineering perspective, from an infrastructure perspective or on national security."

At present, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is examining potential security concerns surrounding the proposed Grand Forks plant. In a prior interview with the Herald, Feland said he is expecting CFIUS’ preliminary findings to be released on Dec. 12.

In the release on Cramer's website, Rubio said the CCP "seeks to weaken and undermine the United States" in a plan to become the world's "sole power."

"Every single (CCP) party member is tasked with accomplishing this goal. It defies common sense to allow CCP members to vacation, shop or conduct business in our country,” Rubio said.

Related Topics: FUFENG
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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