The Department of Homeland Security triggered visa sanctions against Eritrea and three other countries (Guinea, Sierra Leon and Cambodia) for refusing to take back deported citizens from U.S.
The Trump administration has triggered visa sanctions against four countries that have refused to take back citizens the U.S. is trying to deport — tapping a little-used but very effective tool for forcing compliance.
Officials at Homeland Security and the State Department confirmed the move Tuesday but declined to name the four countries.
Sources who tracked the deliberations in recent weeks, however, said the countries were Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Triggering the sanctions fulfills a campaign promise by President Trump, who had chided the Obama administration for not doing more to force countries to take back their deportees.
Once in office, Mr. Trump had ordered his government to use a provision in law that allows him to slap sanctions on countries that thwart deportation efforts. Homeland Security triggered the law by sending letters to the State Department this week, and now State must halt issuance of visas to some or all of those countries’ citizens.
“We can confirm the Department of State has received notification from the Department of Homeland Security regarding four countries that have refused to accept or unreasonably delayed the return of its nationals,” a department official told The Washington Times.
“When we receive such notification, the Department of State works to implement a visa suspension as expeditiously as possible in the manner the secretary determines most appropriate under the circumstances to achieve the desired goal.”