BREAKING: State Department Confirms Visa Ban on Gambia Government Officials and Others

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The US State Department has confirmed to The Fatu Network that as of October 1, 2016, senior Gambia government officials and others affiliated to The government will not be issued visas to The United States unless under highly limited exceptions. The unprecedented decision came following The Gambia government’s refusal to accept nearly 2000 Gambians back to the country who are due for deportation.

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Meanwhile, The State Department has also clarify to The Fatu Network that it will continue to review the issue of those that qualify for visa under what it calls ‘Limited Exception’ cases. The State department further added that it will not identify in advance, those that should qualify under the limited exception category but rather it will be determine on a case by case basis.

 

Below is The State Departments response to an email enquiry by The Fatu Network

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“As of October 1, 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Banjul, The Gambia has discontinued visa issuance to employees of the Gambian government, employees of certain entities associated with the government, and their spouses and children, with limited exceptions. Those will be determined on a case-by-case basis without identifying in advance.

 

Under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, when so requested by the Secretary of Homeland Security due to a particular country’s refusal to accept or unreasonably delay the return of its nationals, the Secretary of State must order consular officers to suspend issuing visas until informed by the Secretary of Homeland Security that the offending country has accepted the individuals.

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For many years, State and ICE have worked with recalcitrant countries at all levels to improve cooperation on removals. We consider all options at our disposal, taking into account complex bilateral relationships, foreign policy priorities, and other extenuating circumstances. To date, The Gambia has failed to issue travel documents for any individuals under final order for removal. We believe that this step is therefore required at this time with the hope The Gambia will cooperate on removals.”

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