There’s obviously been a lot of focus on deportations this year but most of it has to do with the mechanics of locating and processing illegal aliens inside the United States. There’s actually a second part to the formula because we also need to have an understanding with their country of origin and agreement that they will actually take them back. The vast majority of cases come from Mexico and points south from there and we don’t have too many problems with them, but at least a dozen other countries around the world have refused to take their illegal aliens back, leaving them in limbo here in the U.S.

Finally something is being done about that, at least in a few cases. The State Department just announced new sanctions on some of those countries, indicating that if they won’t take their people back, we won’t let theirs come to the United States. (Daily Caller)

The Trump administration hit four countries with visa sanctions Wednesday as punishment for refusing to take back their citizens that U.S. is trying to deport.

In a series of diplomatic cables obtained by Reuters, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined new visa restrictions on Eritrea, Cambodia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The countries are among a dozen that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had previously deemed “recalcitrant” in the repatriation of criminal aliens.

The four countries are “denying or unreasonably delaying” the return of their citizens from the U.S., and visa restrictions will only be lifted if they begin normal acceptance of deportees, according to Tillerson’s orders.

This is a positive step in the right direction for which Trump and Rex Tillerson deserves some credit. But at the same time, it’s a bit weak on a couple of fronts.

First of all, as the Daily Caller points out, only Eritrea is being hit with a blanket sanction. Almost anyone applying for any type of visa will be denied one until they begin accepting deportees. But in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cambodia, only certain government officials (and their families in the case of Guinea) will be denied visas while rank and file travelers will still be able to travel to America. That, as I said, appears relatively weak.

The other shoe which hasn’t dropped is the matter of the rest of the countries on the list who don’t cooperate with deportation orders. Those include China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Burma, Morocco, Hong Kong and South Sudan. A couple of those present obvious complications when it comes to using strong-arm tactics. China in particular would be somewhat problematic at the moment, particularly given all the issues we’re juggling with North Korea, trade agreements and the South China Sea. But some of the others seem to be in far weaker positions to argue with us. Vietnam, Laos and South Sudan would fall into that category.

Still, the possibility exists that this is just a trial balloon and Tillerson is considering more of the same if this works out well enough. These aren’t unreasonable demands in any way, shape or form. If we’re generous enough to allow the citizens of those nations to visit America (and vice versa, of course) then those nations should take their criminals back and deal with them in their own way.