President Donald Trump has suspended certain classes of visas from four countries that have refused to receive deported nationals from the United States, the Washington Examiner reported.
Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone have all been hit with significant limits on visas for their citizens until the impasse has been resolved.
“International law obligates each country to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” a statement from Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke read.
“Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone have failed in that responsibility. The United States itself routinely cooperates with foreign governments in documenting and accepting its citizens when asked, as do the majority of countries in the world. However, these countries have failed to do so, and that one-way street ends with these sanctions.”
The New York Times described countries that refuse to take deported citizens back as a “longstanding problem for officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
Some nations will refuse to issue travel documents for individuals being deported back to their countries of origin, often leading to criminals being released by American officials — especially after a 2001 Supreme Court ruling which barred the federal government from detaining individuals just because a country refused to take them.
The Obama administration was loath to issue visa restrictions to countries who refused to take deportees back. The Trump administration, on the other hand, seems much more willing to play hardball, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordering certain classes of visas discontinued in those countries.
“The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, has discontinued the issuance of B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure) for Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees, with the rank of Director General and above, and their families. The U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea, has discontinued the issuance of all B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure),” the State Department said via a memo.
“The United States Embassy in Conakry, Guinea, has discontinued the issuance of B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure), and F, J, and M visas (temporary visitors for student and exchange programs) to Guinean government officials and their immediate family members,” it added. “The United States Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has discontinued the issuance of B visas (temporary visitors for business or pleasure) to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and immigration officials.”
If that refuses to solve the impasse, further visa restrictions could be forthcoming.
“American citizens have been harmed because foreign governments refuse to take back their citizens. These sanctions will ensure that the problem these countries pose will get no worse as ICE continues its work to remove dangerous criminals from the United States,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan said.
While none of the nations involved in this are in Central or South America, such a battle could presage what happens if countries in those regions refuse to take back individuals deported by the Trump administration. In just the space of a few months, we’ve gone from an administration unwilling to issue any visa restrictions on non compliant nations to one that’s willing to drop the hammer. Talk about a change for the better.
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