Monday, February 18, 2019

US imposes visa sanctions on Myanmar, Laos over refusal to accept deportees

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2018-07-11 12:22:14 BdST


The United States imposed visa sanctions on Myanmar and Laos Tuesday after both nations refused to take back immigrants Washington wants to deport, reports the Time.

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said American officials made "diplomatic communications at the highest level of government" in the two countries before the decision.

The two Southeast Asian nations become part of the running list of countries which have delayed or declined to accept nationals slated for expulsion from the US and are among those the Trump administration has retaliated against with visa restrictions.

The State Department has stopped issuing certain types of visas to higher-level officials until Myanmar and Laos agree to accept the citizens.

If the countries continue not to cooperate with the US, the State Department will expand the visa sanctions to additional visa groups in that country.

In Myanmar, the restrictions will affect some employees of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and Ministry of Home Affairs and their family members. In Laos, the limitations apply to the Ministry of Public Security and other government officials.

Countries accepting back citizens must issue travel documents for those being repatriated before the US can deport them. In Laos and Myanmar's cases, the governments refused to supply ICE with those documents.

Last year, the Trump administration sanctioned four countries — Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone — for refusing to comply with the deportation policy.

Amid the Trump administration’s push to expel immigrants with criminal records, Southeast Asians are being deported in record numbers.

In April, 43 Cambodians were deported to Phnom Penh, the largest group to be sent back under a 2002 bilateral agreement.