The George W. Bush administration in 2001 threatened to deny visas allowing government officials and their families from Guyana to travel to the United States. The nation backed down in a deportation dispute and agreed to accept nearly all of the 112 citizens that U.S. immigration authorities wanted to boot.
President Donald Trump has vowed to go after countries that refuse to accept their citizens under deportation orders in the United States. Legislation by a Texas congressman would give him new tools to deliver on that pledge.
In an executive order signed last month, Trump directed the State and Homeland Security departments to “ensure that diplomatic efforts and negotiations with foreign states include as a condition … the acceptance by those foreign states of their nationals who are subject to removal from the United States.”
Legislation by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) includes a provision available but rarely used under existing law — suspension of visas for countries that are deemed non-cooperative in accepting their citizens who have been convicted of crimes and ordered deported. The bill also would:
- Withhold foreign aid to countries that refuse to take back citizens who have been convicted of crimes and ordered deported.
- Require the Department of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a report every three months listing the uncooperative countries.
Allow victims of crimes by illegal immigrants to sue in federal court.
“There is absolutely no reason that criminal aliens should be released back onto America’s streets, yet that is exactly what is happening by the thousands each and every year because their countries of origin refuse to take them back,” Babin said in a prepared statement.
Government data suggests it is more than a trivial problem. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials list 23 countries as “recalcitrant” when it comes to deportations. A report released in October by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) indicates that 242,772 people have final deportation orders but cannot be returned home because they come from one of those 23 countries or 62 others deemed “non-cooperative.” That is a quarter of the 953,806 illegal immigrants who had been ordered deported but remain in America.