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Trump admin punishes countries that refuse to take back deported citizens

President Trump, who campaigned on cracking down on illegal immigration, had promised to punish countries that refused to take back their citizens and signed an executive order in January

Ron Nixon | NYT 

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. | Photo: Reuters

The administration has imposed visa sanctions against four countries that have refused to take back citizens who were convicted of crimes in the United States and ordered deported, officials said on Wednesday.

The Department of said it notified the State Department that the governments of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and had denied or unreasonably delayed accepting the return of convicts. American diplomats in the countries were ordered to impose visa restrictions, officials said in a statement, but did not say what types of visas would be affected.

law obligates each country to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” said Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of “Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and have failed in that responsibility.”

Officials said the restrictions would remain in place until the countries cooperate.

The issue has been a longstanding problem for officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency charged with deportations.

They say other nations will often refuse to issue travel documents or delay providing them. In turn, agency officials said, they are forced to release criminals, including those who have committed assaults and murders, in the United States. A 2001 Supreme Court ruling barred the government from detaining immigrants indefinitely simply for lack of a country willing to take them.

The Obama administration was criticized for not using its authority to impose visa sanctions against countries that refused to work with American officials to deport immigrants with criminal convictions.

In one of the most recent examples, ICE officials had to release in 2012 a Haitian immigrant, Jean Jacques, who had served time for attempted murder; Haitian officials blocked his because they said Mr. Jacques could not prove that he was a citizen. In June 2015, he stabbed to death Casey Chadwick, a 25-year-old woman from Norwich, Conn., and he was sentenced last year to 60 years in prison in a case that received widespread attention.

President Trump, who campaigned on cracking down on illegal immigration, had promised to punish countries that refused to take back their citizens and signed an executive order in January directing the departments of State and to suspend visas from countries that refused to take back their citizens.

Immigration officials said the sanctions send a message to the holdout nations.

“American citizens have been harmed because foreign governments refuse to take back their citizens,” said Thomas Homan, the acting director of ICE. “These sanctions will ensure that the problem these countries pose will get no worse as ICE continues its work to remove dangerous criminals from the United States.”

officials said about 700 Eritrean nationals in the United States are subject to final orders of removal, but Eritrean officials have refused to cooperate. More than 1,900 Cambodian nationals in the United States are subject to a final order of removal, and 1,412 have criminal convictions, officials said.

ICE officials say they have been forced to release about 2,137 Guinean and 831 nationals, many with serious criminal convictions.

© 2017 The New York Times News Service


© 2017 The New York Times News Service

First Published: Thu, September 14 2017. 10:07 IST
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