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Newsline: U.S. visa of former Brazilian president may be revoked

The United States has a Jair Bolsonaro problem. The far-right former Brazilian president flew to Florida two days before his term ended on Jan. 1, having challenged the Oct. 30 election he lost to leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But Bolsonaro left behind a violent movement of election-denying supporters, who on Sunday stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court. A U.S. consular official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bolsonaro had almost certainly entered on an A-1 visa, which are reserved for heads of state. Normally the A-1 is canceled after the recipient leaves office. But with Bolsonaro having left Brazil and entered the United States before his term ended, the official suspected his A-1 is still active. The official, who has experience with the cancellation of visas for former heads of state, said there is no set time limit on how long someone can stay in the United States on an A-1. “We’re in uncharted territory,” the official said. John Feeley, who was the U.S. ambassador to Panama from 2016-2018 when the Central American nation sought the extradition of its former President Ricardo Martinelli, said the most immediate threat to Bolsonaro would come if his U.S. visa were revoked. “The United States – or any sovereign nation for that matter – may remove a foreigner, even one who entered legally on a visa, for any reason,” Feeley said. “It’s a purely sovereign decision for which no legal justification is required.” (https://neuters.de/world/americas/bolsonaros-florida-stay-puts-ball-bidens-court-after-brasilia-riots-2023-01-09/) A State Department spokesperson said “visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”

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