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November 2017

Legal Fact Check: : On what grounds can the U.S. revoke an individual’s visa?

Bill Browder, an American-born international investor who travels on a British passport, is an outspoken critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and champion of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law aimed at punishing Russians officials involved in corruption. The law was passed following the mysterious 2009 death of Browder’s Russian lawyer while in custody.

Earlier this week, Browder tweeted that the U.S. State Department canceled his ESTA travel waiver, an action which triggered strong bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill and from media pundits from both the left and the right. A day after canceling his waiver, the U.S. government reversed itself, saying Browder’s revocation was an administrative mistake.

Browder’s experiences spotlight an aspect of the U.S. Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which strips federal courts of jurisdiction to review certain decisions “specified” by statute “to be in the discretion of the Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security.” A new ABA Legal Fact Check posted today by the American Bar Association explores that aspect of the law and how it played out in the Browder situation.

ABA Legal Fact Check debuted in August and is the first fact check website focusing exclusively on legal matters. The project is one of several initiatives launched by Hilarie Bass, who became ABA president on Aug. 15 at the close of the ABA Annual Meeting in New York.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the public find dependable answers and explanations to swirling and sometimes confusing legal questions. The URL for the new site is Follow us on twitter @ABAFactCheck.

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