In the latest demonstration to crack down on illegal immigrants, the U.S. State Department will from Wednesday stop issuing certain kinds of visas to selected citizens of Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone due to the affected nations refusal to take back USA deportees.
In a series of cables sent to USA consular officers around the world and obtained by Reuters, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne Tillerson'Game of Thrones' polling company takes on White House shakeups We should worry more about Pakistan than North Korea White House: Trump calling Mexican president over natural disaster MORE said that the visa restrictions would be lifted when the countries accept their nationals under removal orders in the U.S.
The new US restrictions on business and tourism visas will affect foreign ministry and immigration officials in the West African nation. Any Eritreans who applied in their own country for most USA business or tourist visas to the United States would be rejected, the cables said. Only foreign Ministry employees at or above the rank of director general and their families will be refused visas, according to one of the cables.
Among the four nations targeted by the visa sanctions, Eritrea is the hardest hit.
According to the fourth cable, Sierra Leone sanctions will see only Foreign Ministry and immigration officials denied tourist and business visas at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown.
The policies are the latest example of US President Donald Trump's effort to crack down on immigrants who are in the United States illegally
The possibility of visa sanctions was first reported by the Washington Times in August.
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. Since 2000, the US has resorted to visa sanctions against non-accepting countries just twice - against Guyana in 2001 and the Gambia past year, according to Reuters.
The State Department declined comment on the cables, saying it would not discuss internal communications.
The Trump administration has put heavy diplomatic pressure on countries that resist accepting deportees.
The new restrictions also affect nationals or certain officials in Eritrea, Guinea and Cambodia.