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US won’t issue some visas in four nations in deportation crackdown

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The U.S. State Department on Wednesday will stop issuing certain kinds of visas to some citizens of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone because the nations are not taking back their citizens the United States wants to deport.

The new policies, laid out in State Department cables sent on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters, are the latest example of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to crack down on immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

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The cables, sent by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to consular officials around the world, said the four countries were “denying or unreasonably delaying” the return of their citizens from the United States, and that visa restrictions would be lifted in a country if it accepted its deportees.

The State Department declined comment on the cables, saying it would not discuss internal communications.

The visa sanctions vary in severity, with Eritrea facing the harshest sanctions. Any Eritreans who apply in their own country for most U.S. business or tourist visas to the United States will be rejected, according to one of the cables.

In Guinea, the United States will no longer issue a range of tourist, business and student visas to government officials and their immediate family members who apply from inside the country, another cable said.

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In Cambodia, the sanction is tailored. Only Foreign Ministry employees at or above the rank of director general, and their families, who apply inside the country will be barred from getting some visas for personal travel, a third cable said.

For Sierra Leone, only Foreign Ministry and immigration officials will be denied tourist and business visas at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, according to a fourth cable.

SOME EXCEPTIONS

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In each case, there are exceptions for citizens of the four nations who apply for visas from outside their countries, as well as exceptions on humanitarian grounds or for travel “deemed in the interest of the United States.”

The new rules, which go into effect on Wednesday, do not affect visas that already have been granted.

Visa sanctions are allowed by U.S. immigration law to punish countries that refuse to accept their citizens back from the United States. In practice, the United States has rarely taken that step – just twice in the past decade and a half, according to a Department of Homeland Security spokesman.

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The most recent instance was in October 2016 when the Obama administration stopped issuing visas to Gambian government officials and their families because the government was not taking back U.S. deportees from Gambia. 

Three of the four countries included in the current visa restrictions – Cambodia, Guinea, and Eritrea – were on a July list of nations deemed “recalcitrant” by U.S. immigration authorities. It was unclear immediately why Sierra Leone was included in Tuesday’s action even though it was not on the “recalcitrant” list in July.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke sent a letter to the State Department last month identifying the four countries as ones that could face penalties.

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DHS officials say in some cases, the agency has had no choice but to release convicted criminals who served prison time but could not be returned to their home country because it refused to take them back.

The Trump administration has made it a priority to pressure reluctant countries to take back their citizens. As of July, the 12 nations deemed “recalcitrant” were China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Cambodia, Burma, Morocco, Hong Kong, South Sudan, Guinea and Eritrea.

According to 2016 congressional testimony by Michele Bond, former assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, Cuba was the “most recalcitrant country on repatriation of its nationals,” although she did not give numbers.

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Other countries then at the top of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) list of recalcitrant countries were China, Somalia and India, Bond said at the time. None of those countries are facing visa sanctions.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Yeganeh Torbati; Additional reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sue Horton and Bill Trott)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

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President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

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‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

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An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

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2020 Election

‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’

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Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.

CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."

Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."

Spotted at a Biden event in the Hamptons: Fmr. Trump WH Comms Director Anthony @Scaramucci pic.twitter.com/PWVTZ8Qm15

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