One of the central tenets of Donald Trump’s campaign was stricter immigration policies. He vowed to combat illegal immigration and to deport people who were in the country illegally. Trump’s policies have proven popular with his conservative base, but many in the country were frustrated by his proposals. Since taking office, Trump has faced widespread protests and condemnation from Democratic politicians.
Part of Trump’s plan regarding illegal immigration is to quickly deport those found in the country back to their places of origin. However, the administration has run into an issue where four countries are refusing cooperate with the deportations. Reuters reports that Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are not taking back the citizens that the United States wants to deport. In response, the State Department has announced that citizens of those countries will face a more difficult time obtaining visas due to their government’s failure to cooperate with the United States.
The policy was announced via cables sent by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The documents say that those four countries “denying or unreasonably delaying” the process of deportation. In the cables, Tillerson said that the visa restrictions will be lifted once those states begin working with the United States.
“The Secretary determines the categories of applicants subject to the visa restrictions, and the categories differ slightly country by country,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a press release.
Eritrea is currently facing the harshest restrictions. One of the cables mentioned that any Eritrean who applies for a U.S. business or tourist visa in their own country will likely be denied.
Guinea is facing similar restrictions, though they are not as harsh. The U.S. will no longer issue a number of student, visitor or tourist visas to those Guineans who apply in their own country.
Guinea government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara told Reuters that the Guiean government is working to ensure that the restrictions are lifted as soon as possible.
‘We are all surprised by the American authorities’ decision but the foreign minister is at this moment working so that the situation returns to normal. It must be understood that Guinea has never wanted to prevent the repatriation of its nationals who are in conflict with American law.’
The Cambodian restrictions are limited to those who hold the rank director general or higher in the Foreign Ministry and their families. Such people will be denied visas for personal travel.
Sierra Leone faces similar restrictions, with those who work for immigration and the foreign ministry being denied tourist and business visas.
Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, framed the issue as a matter of security saying that “American citizens have been harmed because foreign governments refuse to take back their citizens.”
The cables did not specify a time frame for how long these restrictions would be in place if the offending government’s agree to cooperate with U.S. law regarding immigration deportation. The exact criteria for determining which countries face what restrictions appears to be at the discretion of Tillerson.
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