- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Trump administration slapped visa sanctions on Ghana Thursday, saying the country refuses to take back people the U.S. is trying to deport.

Under the sanctions, the U.S. will refuse to issue visas to some Ghanian citizens who want to come to the U.S.

Homeland Security’s announcement didn’t say who in particular would be affected, but in past sanctions against other countries, it’s been government officials and their families who’ve been denied visas.

The sanctions mark a major escalation in the case of Ghana, which in the most recent public list was deemed an at-risk country, but not one of the worst “recalcitrant” offenders.

“Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

Ghana was deemed recalcitrant from 2015 to 2017, when it began to cooperate more with U.S. authorities. After taking back just 65 deportees in 2015 and 94 in 2016, it took 305 in 2017. That number slipped to 243 in 2018.

Ghana joins five other countries that were subject to visa sanctions as of late last year: Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Burma, Cambodia and Laos.

Sanctions against Guinea, imposed in 2017, were lifted last August after Homeland Security said that country had started to cooperate.

Using visa sanctions to punish uncooperative countries was one of President Trump’s immigration campaign promises — and one he’s lived up to.

The Bush administration used sanctions only once, as did the Obama administration. The Trump administration has been far more prolific — and more successful.

The number of recalcitrant countries had dropped from 23 in 2015 to nine as of the most recent list late last year.

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