The administration imposed visa sanctions Tuesday on four countries that have refused to cooperate in taking back their immigrants whom the U.S. wants to deport, making good on one of President Trump’s campaign promises.
State Department officials said the sanctions begin Wednesday, halting issuance of at least some categories of visas to would-be travelers from Cambodia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Eritrea.
As reported by Western Journalism, Trump signed an executive order just days after being sworn into office in January, where he demanded action against nations failing to honor immigration laws and prior agreements with the U.S.
The State Department said Wednesday the visa sanctions will take effect Wednesday, which will halt the issuance of visas to individuals traveling to the U.S. from the four countries.
“The Secretary of State has ordered consular officers in Eritrea, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia to implement visa restrictions effective September 13, 2017,” State Department officials said.
“The Secretary determined the categories of visa applicants subject to these restrictions on a country-by-country basis,” the officials said.
As reported by The Washington Times, the sanctions aren’t nearly as aggressive as they could have been.
In Cambodia, the sanctions only halt top diplomats and their families from being granted temporary tourism or business visas.
The sanctions will prevent the U.S. Embassy from issuing business and tourist visas to all citizens in Eritrea.
In Guinea, the sanctions will deny business, tourist, and student and exchange program visas for all government officials and their family members.
In Sierra Leone, government diplomats and immigration officials will be denied business and tourist visas.
Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke set the visa sanctions plan in motion last month when she notified the State Department that the four nations were recalcitrant and that sanctions would be necessary.
The State Department subsequently had 30 days to formulate and administer the sanctions package.
Rosemary Jenks, a manager with the immigration hardliner group NumbersUSA, applauded the Trump administration for the visa sanctions, but said the sanctions should have been tougher.
“The law says that we have the authority to halt visas from recalcitrant countries, and we should halt visas. We should stop the issuance of visas to countries that don’t take back their criminals. Period. Full stop,” Jenks said.
“I’m glad the Trump administration is finally using this provision of the law, but they should be following it to the letter and blocking all visas,” she said.
Thanks to a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, immigrants whose countries won’t take them back are generally released back into the community, though they often have serious criminal records. In some cases, the results are tragic.
In one high-profile case, Haiti refused repatriation of Jean Jacques, a man who had served time in the U.S. for attempted murder. Within months of his release, he killed a young woman in Connecticut after a drug dispute with her boyfriend.
Another illegal immigrant, Thong Vang, was released from prison in 2014 after serving time for rape convictions, but his home country of Laos refused to take him back. He ended up back in a California prison last year and shot two guards, police said.
During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed a crackdown on the nearly two dozen recalcitrant countries at the time.
He blamed Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, for being part of the problem. He said she “allowed thousands of criminal aliens to be released because their home countries wouldn’t take them back.”