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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 17:43 PM | 13-09-2017

US won’t issue some visas in 4 nations in deportation crackdown

The US State Department on Wednesday (Sept 13, 2017) will stop issuing certain kinds of visas to some citizens of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone because the nations are not taking back their citizens the United States wants to deport.

The new policies, laid out in State Department cables sent on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters, are the latest example of US President Donald Trump’s effort to crack down on immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

The cables, sent by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to consular officials around the world, said the four countries were “denying or unreasonably delaying” the return of their citizens from the United States, and that visa restrictions would be lifted in a country if it accepted its deportees.

The State Department declined comment on the cables, saying it would not discuss internal communications.

The visa sanctions vary in severity, with Eritrea facing the harshest sanctions. Any Eritreans who apply in their own country for most US business or tourist visas to the United States will be rejected, according to one of the cables.

In Guinea, the United States will no longer issue a range of tourist, business and student visas to government officials and their immediate family members who apply from inside the country, another cable said.

In Cambodia, the sanction is tailored. Only Foreign Ministry employees at or above the rank of director general, and their families, who apply inside the country will be barred from getting some visas for personal travel, a third cable said.

For Sierra Leone, only Foreign Ministry and immigration officials will be denied tourist and business visas at the US Embassy in Freetown, according to a fourth cable.

In each case, there are exceptions for citizens of the four nations who apply for visas from outside their countries, as well as exceptions on humanitarian grounds or for travel “deemed in the interest of the United States.”

The new rules, which go into effect on Wednesday, do not affect visas that already have been granted.

Visa sanctions are allowed by US immigration law to punish countries that refuse to accept their citizens back from the United States. In practice, the United States have rarely taken that step – just twice in the past decade and a half, according to a Department of Homeland Security spokesman.

 

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