U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has slapped sanctions on Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for “lack of cooperation” in accepting their citizens who face deportation from the United States, including many who have committed serious crimes like murder in American communities, reveals the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“International law obligates each country to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” Acting U.S. DHS Secretary Elaine Duke announced in a statement issued Wednesday.
“Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone have failed in that responsibility,” she noted, added that the “one-way street ends with these sanctions.”
Thomas Homan, the director of the Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agency, an arm of DHS, has claimed the refusal of other countries to accept their citizens after U.S. immigration authorities order them deported has resulted in “American citizens” being “harmed.”
The countries’ reluctance has forced ICE to release 2,137 Guineans and 831 Sierra Leone citizens, including many who have committed serious crimes across U.S. communities, proclaimed DHS.
Moreover, the department noted that the United States has also released an estimated 700 Eritreans and around 1,900 Cambodians, including 1,412 with criminal convictions, including violent and sex offenses.
“Due to lack of travel document issuance, ICE continues to be compelled to release Cambodian nationals into U.S. communities, some with serious criminal convictions, including weapons and sex offenses, and drug convictions,” reveals DHS.
“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,” declared ICE Director Homan.
The restrictions mandate that the United States stop issuing all category B visas for business or pleasure to citizens of Eritrea, a nation of nearly 6 million people.
Under the sanctions, the United States will deny entry to top government officials and their families in Cambodia (16 million) traveling on business or travel visa.
In Guinea (12.4 million), the United States will prevent top government officials and their immediate family members from obtaining category B student and cultural exchange visas.
Meanwhile, in Sierra Leone (6 million), the United States has denied all category B visas for temporary business or pleasure travel to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and immigration officials.
“Without an appropriate response from the impacted countries, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population,” acknowledges Duke in the statement.
Besides the African country of Eritrea, the other sanctioned countries are in Southeast Asia.
The move is a component of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
“The plan to sanction the four countries had been circulating since last month, though the extent of the sanctions and the timeframe for enacting them remained unknown,” explains Fox News. “At the time, officials hinted that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would not ban all visas issued to the four countries, but instead target just government officials and their families.”
However, the DHS revelation is a testament to sanctions that are far more reaching than previously expected.
Soon after taking office in January, President Trump signed an executive order mandating that the U..S. government negotiate with “recalcitrant countries” that refuse their deported citizens and impose sanctions if such nations fail to comply.
U.S. law mandates that all aliens who face a deportation order cannot be held for more than 180 days, after which ICE is forced to release the criminal, explained ICE in 2012.
The DHS has reportedly identified the recalcitrant countries as China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Guinea, Cambodia, Eritrea, Burma, Morocco, Hong Kong, and South Sudan.
In March 2012, Vietnamese national Binh Thai Luc allegedly killed five people in San Francisco six years ago after an immigration judge ordered his deportation and his home country refused to take him back, forcing ICE to release the alleged murderer into U.S. communities.