BREAKING: US Announces Visa Restrictions and Review of All US-Georgia Cooperation

On May 23, Secretary of State Blinken announced a visa restriction policy for undermining democracy in Georgia and as well a Comprehensive Review of all US-Georgia cooperation. Restrictions include individuals responsible for suppressing civil society and freedom of peaceful assembly in Georgia through violence or intimidation.

Secretary Blinken’s statement says that the “foreign influence law” that the ruling Georgian Dream party has developed and passed “would stifle the exercise of freedoms of association and expression, stigmatize organizations that serve the citizens of Georgia, and impede independent media organizations working to provide Georgians with access to high-quality information.”

Thus, the Department of State’s visa restrictions will apply “to individuals responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members.” 

The statement notes that in response to Georgian citizens’ opposition to the law, the ruling authorities unleashed a campaign of intimidation and the use of violence to suppress peaceful dissent. It further reads: “Both the “national security law” and the repressive tactics used to quell legitimate dissent undermine Georgia’s democracy and the fundamental freedoms to which the Georgian people are entitled and run contrary to Georgia’s long-stated goal – reflected in its constitution — of Euro-Atlantic integration and strategic partnership with the United States.”

The restrictions also apply to individuals responsible for suppressing civil society and freedom of peaceful assembly in Georgia through a campaign of violence or intimidation.

In addition, “anyone who undermines democratic processes or institutions in Georgia —including in the lead-up to, during, and following Georgia’s October 2024 elections — may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy and precluded from travel to the United States” notes the statement. Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.

Secretary of State also announced the launch of a “comprehensive review” of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Georgia. 

At the end, the Secretary of State notes: “It remains our hope that Georgia’s leaders will reconsider the draft law and take steps to move forward with their nation’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. As we review the relationship between our two countries, we will take into account Georgia’s actions in deciding our own.”

This visa restriction policy is pursuant to Section 212 (a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and National Act, and allows the Department of State to implement visa restrictions for individuals, whether current or former state or non-state actors who are responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Georgia, including through the use of violence, force, or coercion to impede the exercise of civil or political rights, as well as the immediate family members of such individuals.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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