The immigration and deportation debate may be heavily focused on the southern border with Mexico, but it’s much broader than that — and policies enacted by the Trump administration are making a positive impact despite being largely ignored by the media.
A report from The Washington Times is highlighting how the president’s policies have put pressure on previously “deadbeat” countries, which previously did almost nothing to take back lawbreaking migrants hiding out in America.
“Sierra Leone for years had thumbed its nose at U.S. officials, slow-walking deportations so badly that it earned its way onto Homeland Security’s ‘recalcitrant country’ naughty list,” The Times explained.
“Over the last two years of the Obama administration, Sierra Leone took back just 21 deportees,” the newspaper reported. But now? “44 deportees (were) sent back that year, and 79 shipped back in fiscal 2018.”
So what changed? True to his word, President Donald Trump used the power of diplomatic sanctions to put pressure on nations like Sierra Leone. Call it a carrot-and-stick approach.
“President Trump took office vowing action, and one of his first executive orders instructed his administration to stop issuing visas to the worst-offending countries,” wrote The Times. “The Sierra Leone government was targeted with sanctions in August 2017, and the change came quickly.”
The dramatic shift isn’t limited to that African country. By simply using tactics like sanctions and revoking visas for nations who were dragging their feet in taking back lawbreakers, the Trump administration has pushed major change.
“Long-time deadbeats such as Cuba, China and Vietnam are taking back hundreds more people, even though they remain on the naughty list,” reported the newspaper. “Guinea earned its way off the list by increasing its acceptance of deportees by more than 1,200 percent from 2016 to 2018, while Eritrea went from 13 deportees in Mr. Obama’s final year to 62 last year.”
Liberals will no doubt cry foul about pressuring countries to take back their bad apples, but government officials made it clear that these are not innocent refugees.
“Under President Trump, we have made historic progress in ensuring countries take back their nationals who have no legal right to live or work in the United States,” said Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Katie Waldman.
Specific cases show that criminals including a Ghanaian drug dealer and a Haitian murderer were able to stay in the United States and continue their crimes in part because their home countries wouldn’t cooperate with the U.S. by receiving deportees.
What’s perhaps most eye-opening about the strategy is that past presidents could have easily done the same and helped push nations into accepting illegal immigrants back into their home countries. But previous administrations simply didn’t do it.
“That power has been on the books for years, but had only been used twice — once in 2001 by the Bush administration and once in late 2016 by the Obama administration,” The Times reported.
“The sanctions work,” pointed out Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies. “Now these countries understand that the party is over and they — government officials in particular — will face consequences for blocking deportations.”
So why didn’t previous presidents, both Democrat and Republican, do the exact same thing? That’s a very good question, and one you’d probably have to ask them directly. It could be that people like Barack Obama were so worried about “offending” anyone that they put public safety lower on the list.
One thing is clear: For all his flaws, Trump has repeatedly shown a willingness to use available options that past leaders ignored in order to get results. Every nation should have the right to decide who enters, and to boot someone back out if they refuse to follow the law.
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