She made this disclosure during a brief meeting at the Ministry with the Director General of MFAIC, Ambassador Khadijatu Bassir, and a cross section of Senior Management and Consular staff of the Ministry.
The US Deputy Chief said, ‘I have not received any kind of instructions from our New York office, but if I have notifications will let you know.’
Laurie J. Meininger was responding to concerns raised by the Director General and Ambassador-at-Large of the MFAIC with regards concerns raised by other government functionaries and citizens on the refusal by the US Embassy to issue US Visas to potential applicants prior to the alleged visa ban.
The US Deputy Chief stated that Sierra Leone had enjoyed excellent diplomatic relations with the US for decades and has been one of the countries recognized in 2016 as a compliant nation. There are several reasons she underscored that necessitates visa refusal ranging from visa requirement violations, convictions, processing and additional requirements, etc. The US Embassy in Sierra Leone she said will improve on collaboration with the consular office of the Ministry through the conduct of a seminar to address the issue of visa processing.
However, late last month report stated that the U.S. government is poised to impose visa restrictions on four Asian and African nations refusing to take back their citizens who've been deported from the United States, officials said Thursday.
The officials said Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone would soon be subject to sanctions. They're meant to coax "recalcitrant" countries into accepting the return of individuals the U.S. tries to remove. Under federal law, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can stop all or specific types of visas from being issued to such nations.
Tillerson isn't likely to ban all visas, the officials said. Rather, he would target government officials and their families, as the U.S. has done previously. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. They wouldn't say when Tillerson would act.
The Homeland Security Department said Wednesday it had recommended the State Department take action against four nations out of a dozen it considers recalcitrant. The agency didn't name the countries.
Asked for comment, the State Department confirmed it received the Homeland Security Department's notification. It also wouldn't identify the nations by name, saying only that each one has "refused to accept or unreasonably delayed the return of its nationals." It will make public the exact penalties after affected governments are informed.
"Our goal is to get countries to agree to accept the return of their nationals," DHS spokesman Dave Lapan told reporters.
The State Department has been traditionally reluctant to impose visa sanctions because affected countries often retaliate through reciprocal restrictions on U.S. citizens and officials. The measures have only been imposed twice before, against Guyana and The Gambia.
DHS currently identifies China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Guinea, Cambodia, Eritrea, Burma, Morocco, Hong Kong and South Sudan as being recalcitrant in accepting deportees from the U.S.
It was not immediately clear why only Cambodia, Eritrea and Guinea were selected for the sanctions or why Sierra Leone, which was last identified as "at risk" for recalcitrance, was included.