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Required Presidential Actions, Presidential Waiver, and Visa Sanctions in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

H.R.2431 – Public Law 105-292 International Religious Freedom Act of 1998
 

(22 United State Code 6446) SEC. 405. DESCRIPTION OF PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS.
(a) DESCRIPTION OF PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS.—Except as provided in subsection (d), the Presidential actions referred to in this subsection are the following:

(1) A private demarche.

(2) An official public demarche.

(3) A public condemnation.

(4) A public condemnation within one or more multilateral fora.

(5) The delay or cancellation of one or more scientific exchanges.

(6) The delay or cancellation of one or more cultural exchanges.

(7) The denial of one or more working, official, or state visits.

(8) The delay or cancellation of one or more working, official, or state visits.

(9) The withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of United States development assistance in accordance with section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

(10) Directing the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or the Trade and Development Agency not to approve the issuance of any (or a specified number of ) guarantees, insurance, extensions of credit, or participations in the extension of credit with respect to the specific government, agency, instrumentality, or official found or determined by the President to be responsible for violations under section 401 or 402.

(11) The withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of United States security assistance in accordance with section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

(12) Consistent with section 701 of the International Financial Institutions Act of 1977, directing the United States executive directors of international financial institutions to oppose and vote against loans primarily benefiting the specific foreign government, agency, instrumentality, or official found or determined by the President to be responsible for violations under section 401 or 402.

(13) Ordering the heads of the appropriate United States agencies not to issue any (or a specified number of) specific licenses, and not to grant any other specific authority (or a specified number of authorities), to export any goods or technology to the specific foreign government, agency, instrumentality, or official found or determined by the President to be responsible for violations under section 401 or 402, under—

(A) the Export Administration Act of 1979;

(B) the Arms Export Control Act;

(C) the Atomic Energy Act of 1954; or

(D) any other statute that requires the prior review and approval of the United States Government as a condition for the export or reexport of goods or services.

(14) Prohibiting any United States financial institution from making loans or providing credits totaling more than $10,000,000 in any 12-month period to the specific foreign government, agency, instrumentality, or official found or determined by the President to be responsible for violations under section 401 or 402.

(15) Prohibiting the United States Government from procuring, or entering into any contract for the procurement of, any goods or services from the foreign government, entities, or officials found or determined by the President to be responsible for violations under section 401 or 402.

(b) COMMENSURATE ACTION.—Except as provided in subsection (d), the President may substitute any other action authorized by law for any action described in paragraphs (1) through (15) of subsection (a) if such action is commensurate in effect to the action substituted and if the action would further the policy of the United States set forth in section 2(b) of this Act. The President shall seek to take all appropriate and feasible actions authorized by law to obtain the cessation of the violations. If commensurate action is taken, the President shall report such action, together with an explanation for taking such action, to the appropriate congressional committees.

(c) BINDING AGREEMENTS.—The President may negotiate and enter into a binding agreement with a foreign government that obligates such government to cease, or take substantial steps to address and phase out, the act, policy, or practice constituting the violation of religious freedom. The entry into force of a binding agreement for the cessation of the violations shall be a primary objective for the President in responding to a foreign government that has engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

(d) EXCEPTIONS.—Any action taken pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) may not prohibit or restrict the provision of medicine, medical equipment or supplies, food, or other humanitarian assistance.


SEC. 407. PRESIDENTIAL WAIVER.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subsection (b), the President may waive the application of any of the actions described in paragraphs (9) through (15) of section 405(a) (or commensurate action in substitution thereto) with respect to a country, if the President determines and so reports to the appropriate congressional committees that—

(1) the respective foreign government has ceased the violations giving rise to the Presidential action;

(2) the exercise of such waiver authority would further the purposes of this Act; or

(3) the important national interest of the United States requires the exercise of such waiver authority.

(b) CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION.—Not later than the date of the exercise of a waiver under subsection (a), the President shall notify the appropriate congressional committees of the waiver or the intention to exercise the waiver, together with a detailed justification thereof.


SEC. 604. INADMISSIBILITY OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO HAVE ENGAGED IN PARTICULARLY SEVERE VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

(a) INELIGIBILITY FOR VISAS OR ADMISSION.—Section 212(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

‘‘(G) FOREIGN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO HAVE ENGAGED IN PARTICULARLY SEVERE VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.—Any alien who, while serving as a foreign government official, was responsible for or directly carried out, at any time during the preceding 24-month period, particularly severe violations of religious freedom, as defined in section 3 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, and the spouse and children, if any, are inadmissible.’’.

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