The Trump administration on Wednesday announced that it is stopping the issuance of certain kinds of visa to three African countries and one Asian country.
In the latest example of the administration’s crackdown on immigration, the State Department sent out a cable that places visa sanctions on Eritrea, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cambodia for “denying or unreasonably delaying” the return to their countries of their citizens being deported from the United States.
Of the four countries, Eritrea faces the harshest sanctions. Any Eritrean who applies for a business or tourist visa to the US will be denied.
In Guinea, the US will no longer issues tourist, business or student visas to government officials and their immediate family members who apply from within Guinea.
In Sierra Leone, Foreign Ministry and immigration officials will be denied tourist and business visas at the US embassy in Freetown.
In Cambodia, Foreign Ministry employees at the rank of director general or higher, as well as their immediate families, will be denied certain kinds of visas for personal travel if they apply within Cambodia.
For all the four countries, there are exceptions for citizens who apply from outside their home countries. There are also exceptions for those needing to travel to the United States on humanitarian grounds or for travel determined by the States Department to be “in the interest of the United States.”
The new rules go into effect on Wednesday. Individuals from the four countries who have already been granted visas will be allowed to travel to the US.
The rules have been enacted to pressure countries to accept back deportees from the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says the agency has had to release convicted criminals after their home countries made it impossible to deport them.
Twelve nations have been identified by the DHS as being reluctant to accept back their citizens; China, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Morocco, South Sudan, Eritrea and Guinea. Sierra Leone was originally not on that list.
The State Department says the sanctions will be lifted once the countries start accepting deportees.