State Dept. Issues Final Rule on Exchange Visitor Program Sanctions, Terminations
Effective January 22, 2008, the Department of State is adopting as final, with “minor edits,” its proposed rule on exchange visitor program sanctions and terminations as published on May 31, 2007.
The final rule includes two new grounds for sanctions or terminations: actions that may compromise national security or undermine U.S. foreign policy objectives. The Department also eliminated the requirement that it find alleged violations to be willful or negligent before imposing sanctions. “Since knowledge and ability to comply and remain in full compliance with the regulations are fundamental requirements of sponsor designation, it is essentially irrelevant whether a sponsor violates regulations willfully, negligently, or even inadvertently,” the Department noted. “Violations, whether or not willful or negligent, may harm the national security or the public diplomacy goals of the United States, or pose a threat to the health, safety or welfare of program participants, and the Department must have the capacity to respond appropriately. Moreover, the process set forth in the revised sanctions regulations provides that a sponsor being sanctioned may submit a statement in opposition to or mitigation of the proposed sanction.”
The supplementary information to the final rule, which was published on December 20, 2007, and is available in PDF, includes a number of comments received on the proposed rule, along with the Department’s responses.