Trump Issues Presidential Memorandum on Imposing Visa Sanctions on Countries Who Refuse or Delay Rep

On April 10, 2020, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum instructing the Department of State (“DOS”) and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to impose visa sanctions on any country that denies or unreasonably delays the acceptance of its citizens who have been ordered removed or deported from the United States. Per the Memorandum, countries that refuse or are slow to repatriate their deported citizens after being asked to accept them during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic “create unacceptable public health risks for Americans. The United States must be able to effectuate the repatriation of foreign nationals who violate the laws of the United States.”

Under the Memorandum, the DOS will have seven days to initiate a plan to impose the visa sanctions upon notification by DHS that a foreign country is impeding the U.S.’s deportation operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. If visa sanctions are imposed, U.S. consular posts abroad must discontinue the issuance of U.S. nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to all citizens of that foreign country. The sanctions will only be lifted when DHS notifies DOS that the foreign country has accepted its deported citizens from the United States. Please note that the visa sanctions will only apply to foreign nationals who are applying for U.S. visas abroad and will not affect foreign nationals who are lawfully in the United States and who are applying for change or extension of nonimmigrant status, or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.

The Presidential Memorandum will remain in effect until December 31, 2020, unless extended further. To date, no countries have been sanctioned.

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