The Trump administration revoked travel privileges for one of the harshest critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin causing an immediate response from Capitol Hill. British citizen Bill Browder, a crusader for the Magnitsky Act designed to punish Russian human rights abusers, found his travel to the United States blocked in recent days.
“The Department of Homeland Security should expedite an immediate review of the decision to revoke Mr. Browder’s visa,” Senators John McCain of Arizona and Ben Cardin of Maryland said in a statement on Monday.
The senators added it “would be unfortunate if the U.S. decided to bar [Bill Browder] based on a decision by those same Russian officials who have been targeted by this important legislation (the Magnitsky Act).”
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) October 23, 2017
The situation appears to be triggered by Russia’s decision to place Browder on the Interpol wanted list in pursuit of his arrest. The Department of Homeland Security notified Browder late last week that his status as a member of the Global Entry program was revoked. Administered by Customs and Border Protection, the status allows trusted travelers expedited entry into the country.
When Browder tried to book a flight to the United States, he discovered his privileges to enter the U.S. as a citizen of Great Britain were gone. Browder uses the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to gain entry into the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.
“I discovered that my Global Entry status had been revoked,” Browder said. “We then checked into a flight to Newark and the airline wouldn’t let me check in, wouldn’t let me board because of the visa issue. At that point, I then contact my contacts in law enforcement and it was confirmed to me that Russia had added me using the Interpol diffusion system on the 17th of October.”
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