Covid-19: Trump threatens those refusing deportees with new visa sanctions

FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump at The White House| Credit: AP

United States President Donald Trump on Friday said the US government was preparing to impose new visa sanctions on countries that were refusing or causing delay in accepting people deported from the US during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

In a memorandum published last evening, Trump ordered the Homeland Security secretary to notify the State Department if any country’s government “denies or unreasonably delays” the repatriation of their citizens, they would be deemed to be causing "unacceptable public health risks for Americans".

Countries that deny or unreasonably delay the acceptance of their citizens, subjects, nationals, or residents from the United States during the ongoing pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 create unacceptable public health risks for Americans, Trump said in his memorandum.

Addressed to the Homeland Security Secretary and Secretary of State, Trump said the US must be able to effectuate the repatriation of foreign nationals who violate the laws of the United States.

Read the full text of White House's Memorandum on Visa Sanctions

In a memorandum to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump cited the ongoing crisis and the need to ensure "the repatriation of foreign nationals who violate the laws of the United States."

Pompeo has seven days "initiate a plan to impose the visa sanctions" if the Homeland Security Department determines a country not accepting returnees is delaying or impeding operations "necessary to respond to the ongoing pandemic."

The process in this regard would be initiated by the secretary of Homeland Security who would identify the countries which do not accept America's request of repatriation of their citizens, if that is impeding their operations to the ongoing pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Thereafter, the secretary of Homeland Security would notify the Secretary of State.

Within seven days of receiving such a notification, the Secretary of State would impose visa restrictions on such a country, Trump said in his memorandum.

Visa sanctions would be lifted as soon as the Secretary of Homeland Security notifies the Secretary of State that a foreign country has resumed accepting aliens without unreasonable delay who are its citizens, subjects, nationals, or residents when asked to accept those aliens.

Last month, the United States suspended all routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services in the most countries worldwide due to coronavirus outbreak.



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