The Department of Homeland Security has asked the State Department to punish four countries that are consistently unwilling to accept nationals that have been deported from the United States.
This request follows multiple cases in which authorities have been forced to release illegal immigrants (inside the US) because their home countries have blocked their return.
“You may have individuals from foreign countries that have committed crimes in the United States and been convicted – in some cases have served sentences – and when they’re released from prison they remain in the United States because their countries won’t take them back,” explains DHS spokesman David Lapan.
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, the State Department must stop granting travel visas in “recalcitrant” countries when it is asked to do so by the Homeland Security Secretary.
The request to impose sanctions on the four countries comes in the form of a letter written by acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke.
“The Secretary is having conversations with those countries. We want to bring those countries into compliance. We want those countries to be able to take back their citizens,” said one State Department official. “We are having different levels of conversations with those countries and imposing different things upon them based on what we think will work best with those countries.
Government officials have refused to name the four countries, but they are supposedly among this list of ”recalcitrant” countries: China, Cambodia, Burma, Eritrea, Cuba, Hong Kong, Guinea, Laos, Iran, South Sudan, Morocco, and Vietnam.
It is unclear exactly who would be affected by a travel suspension. According to a State Department official, it could affect “any category of visa applicant, as determined by the Department on a country-by-country basis.”
The underlying goal here is to convince countries to work with us. “Countries can take steps to be removed from the list,” says Lapan. “Our goal is to get countries to agree to accept the return of their nationals.
President Trump has made it a point to make deporting illegal immigrants a priority. On the campaign trail, he criticized countries that refused to take their own people back after they’ve been ordered to leave the US. “Not going to happen with me,” he said last August. “Not going to happen with me.”