More Countries Taking Back US Deportees

Rick Moran, American Thinker, May 17, 2017

Thong Vang

Convicted rapist Thong Vang gets to stay in the US, because Laos doesn’t want him.

One of the criticisms of President Trump’s new immigration policy was that the US couldn’t deport illegals if their original countries wouldn’t take them back.

After several months of negotiations, the Department of Homeland Security has successfully reduced the list of countries who refused US deportees from 20 to 12.

Washington Times:

Between cajoling, threats and actual punishments, Homeland Security has managed to drastically cut the number of countries that habitually refuse to take back immigrants whom the U.S. is trying to deport, officials said Tuesday, notching an early immigration success for President Trump.

The number of recalcitrant countries has dropped from 20 to 12 over the months since the presidential election, and some longtime offenders — including Iraq and Somalia — have earned their way off the naughty list. The list of countries is the shortest this decade.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials couldn’t immediately say how many people have been deported because of the changes, but Somalia has taken back 259 just seven months into the fiscal year. That is far more than the 198 it took back in all of 2016 and the 17 it took in 2015.

Marlen Pineiro, assistant director for removal operations at ICE, said the efforts began under the Obama administration but that Mr. Trump has created a determined focus at the Homeland Security and State departments, which are both involved in speeding up deportations.

“The wind being at our wings is really driving us forward,” she said.

In many cases, that means criminals who otherwise would have been released onto the streets are now being sent to their home countries.

Recalcitrant countries have long been among the serious issues that didn’t get much attention, though the consequences can be extreme.

In one notorious case, Haiti refused to take back an illegal immigrant who had served time for attempted murder, and U.S. officials were forced to release him. He killed a young woman in Connecticut just months after his release.

Another illegal immigrant, Thong Vang, was released from prison in 2014 after serving time for rape convictions, and his home country of Laos refused to take him back. He was sent to a California prison last year and shot two guards, police said.

Armed with those kinds of cases, Mr. Trump made recalcitrant countries a part of his presidential campaign. He vowed to begin putting pressure on countries to take back their deportees.

One of the president’s first executive orders instructed DHS to ramp up pressure on these recalcitrant countries and force them to take back their own citizens. That the administration has achieved this surprising level of success shows what happens when Washington actually tries to do something about the problem, rather than throw up their hands and claim nothing can be done.

Two of the biggest offenders are still on the list; China and Cuba. The Cubans have agreed to begin taking back criminal illegals but there is a backlog of 35,000 that they refuse to deal with. And there are 1900 Chinese citizens who have been ordered deported that Beijing refuses to repatriate.

Other countries still on the recalcitrant list are Burma, Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea, Iran, Laos, Morocco, South Sudan and Vietnam. Hong Kong was added into the list this month because its repatriation policy is controlled by China.

The countries that dropped off the list, in addition to Somalia and Iraq, were Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Iraq earned its way off the list after it promised better cooperation in the wake of Mr. Trump’s first extreme vetting executive order.

Given the administration’s early success in getting countries to repatriate deportees, we can expect that “naughty” list to shrink even more.

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