Recalcitrant Countries: Denying Visas to Countries that Refuse to Take Back their Deported Nationals

Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: July 14, 2016 9:30 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

TAKEAWAYS:

  • According to ICE 953,506 aliens with final orders of removal remain in the United States.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision in Zadvydas v. Davis, which limits the length of detention for aliens who cannot be removed in the near future, allows even violent criminal aliens to be put back on U.S. streets if their home country refuses to repatriate.
    • Since 2013, 8,275criminal aliens were released under Zadvydas.
    • This is a fraction of the 86,288criminal aliens since 2013 released back into U.S communities and who went on to commit 231,074 crimes.
  • State and DHS are not enforcing current law (243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), which allows the U.S. to deny visas to countries who refuse to take back their nationals.
    • Ambassador Bond testified that denying visas to recalcitrant countries is “an effective tool”but further testified that State has not employed the tool in the last fifteen years.
  • By focusing on a sliding scale of penalties rather than enforcing the statute, the State Department is prioritizing foreign policy ideology over the safety of American citizens and usurping the will of Congress.

PURPOSE:

  • To examine Department of Homeland Security and Department of State policies and procedures for denying visas to countries that refuse to take back their deported nationals.

BACKGROUND:

  • Thousands of deportable criminal aliens are released back onto U.S. streets because their home countries refuse to repatriate them.
  • Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in Zadvydas v. Davis, after 180 days, if the home country steadfastly refuses to repatriate an alien, the alien must be released, even if the alien is a violent criminal with no legal right to remain in the U.S.
  • The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that, “upon notification by the Attorney General [now by the Secretary of Homeland Security], that a ‘foreign country denies or . . . delays accepting an alien . . . the Secretary of State shall . . . discontinue granting . . . visas . . . to citizens, subjects, nationals and residents of that country’ until the country accepts the alien.”

o   Although enacted in 1952, this provision is seldom invoked.

KEY VIDEOS:

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): “You’re so worried about playing nice instead of implementing the law, these people are committing more crimes. … Everything from murder, to DUIs, to sexual abuse. Get rid of them.”

National Security Subcommittee Chairman Ron DeSantis (R-FL): “[I]t’s not unreasonable to say that if someone comes into the country illegally and then gets convicted of attempted murder, that it should be a very high priority of the government to get that person out of our country…”

Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH): “Just a few minutes ago you said, …‘We at the State Department believe denying visas can be an effective tool.’ How can it be effective if you never use it?”

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable Michele Thoren Bond Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs U.S. Department of State Document
Mr. Daniel Ragsdale Deputy Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement U.S. Department of Homeland Security Document

Related Documents

Name Document
ICE Weekly Departures and Detention Report Document