Even if President Trump can’t convince the courts to approve his extreme vetting executive order, he may have another tool at his disposal that would allow him to strip visas from some of the seven countries he’s trying to target, crackdown supporters say.
A federal law says the government can stop issuing visas to countries that are deemed “uncooperative” because they refuse to take back their citizens when the U.S. tries to deport them. At least five of the seven countries Mr. Trump is targeting — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Sudan — are already on that list, according to new data obtained by the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
All Mr. Trump would have to do is have his Homeland Security Department secretary issue an official notification about those countries, and the State Department would immediately halt visas, IRLA says.
“Each of these countries either cannot or are unwilling to take back their citizens, all of whom have either violated our immigration laws or committed crimes against our own. For that reason alone, the Trump administration can and should put a complete halt to their visa privileges. In fact, the law requires it,” said Ian Smith, investigative associate at the IRLA.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations have used the tool before, but never on more than one country, and not as part of a crackdown on potential terrorism.