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(LifeSiteNews) — Monica Smit, an Australian freedom activist who protested against oppressive COVID-19 lockdowns, has had her U.S. visa revoked without explanation after it was approved about two months ago.
Smit, the founder of Reignite Democracy Australia (RDA), announced Monday on social media that while her visa was accepted through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) when she applied on August 27, she recently received an email informing her that her application had been denied.
She shared that while she found the decision “shocking,” she is even more shocked by the fact that she cannot find out why her visa approval has been revoked.
Smit speculated that the reason for the denial may be her “conviction” for recording and publishing her own court case a few months ago. However, it was a relatively low-penalty offense – only 20 penalty units, compared to, say, 120 penalty units for breaking COVID fines – and her lawyers “assured” her “it would not affect travel.”
“Either that was bad advice OR USA are using it as an excuse OR it’s a misunderstanding OR it’s not even about that,” Smit remarked.
On August 31, 2021, Smit was arrested on two charges of “incitement” based on allegations that she had provoked Australians in Victoria to break the state government’s draconian lockdown measures by publishing an anti-lockdown protest poster on social media.
After refusing to sign punishing bail conditions, she spent a three-week stint in solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison before successfully appealing to overturn the conditions.
In July 2022, Victoria police dropped the “incitement” charges, with Smit sharing that the police wrote that the “Director of Public Prosecutions has decided to discontinue the incitement charges on the basis that there is no longer a public interest in pursuing these matters, given the time Ms. Smit has already spent in custody.”
According to White & Associates Attorneys at Law, “an arrest for a variety of crimes can trigger visa revocation… even if the charges are dismissed, or the underlying crime in and of itself is not an adequate basis to find a person inadmissible.”
“Often the revocation request is sent out by the corresponding law enforcement agency to the Department of State, and within 24 hours, DOS will take action to revoke the visa,” explained the law firm.
The firm also states that “Policy changes at a consular post or sheer politics can also lead to visa revocations – sometimes en masse.”
Immigration lawyer Jackie O’Connor told LifeSiteNews the U.S. is not obligated to explain the reasons for visa revocations and that once a visa is revoked, it’s usually quite difficult to obtain one again.
Smit is concerned that the real reason underlying her visa revocation is related to her freedom activism or her recently published book, Cell 22: From Party Girl to Political Prisoner. She shared in an email blast that she was hoping to get “big interviews” to help give publicity to her book and that she had four events planned in the U.S., which included attending a Children’s Health Defense conference on November 3.
“If I am being denied entry to the U.S. because of the book that I have just written, or because of the work that I have done, then this is really scary for America,” commented Smit in a video posted to Instagram.
On Tuesday, Smit put a positive spin on her U.S. visa denial, musing that “everything happens for a reason.”
“When people try to shut you down, it always does the opposite. When I went to prison for 22 days, it gave me a story that allowed me to speak, to network with many people, and that’s why I was able to network around Australia,” the activist shared in a video update on Instagram.
She announced on Wednesday that she is applying for a B-2 (tourism) visa to the U.S., but must wait 133 days for her appointment.
LifeSiteNews has reached out to Smit and to the U.S. Embassy in Australia for comment but has not received a response as of the time of publishing.
As founder of RDA, Smit has organized, led, and addressed dozens of rallies against Australia’s COVID restrictions and forced vaccination. She currently runs several pro-freedom projects, including a campaign to “keep cash alive.”
Cell 22: From Party Girl to Political Prisoner is available at monicasmit.com.
Readers can submit complaints about Smit’s visa denial to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at 877-CBP-5511 and to the National Visa Center of the U.S. Department of State using their public inquiry form.