WASHINGTON: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has asked the Obama Administration to discontinue issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas to citizens from 23 countries, including India.

He blamed the Obama administration for its failure to use authority provided to it by Congress to hold accountable countries that won’t take back their own citizens who have been ordered removed from the United States, which has allowed thousands of criminals to be released into U.S. communities.

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Grassley-090507-18363- 0032

“Many times, these individuals have criminal histories in addition to entering the country illegally or overstaying their visa,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.  “Dangerous criminals, including murderers, are being released every day because their home countries will not cooperate in taking them back.  In fiscal year 2015 alone, 2,166 individuals were released in the United States because of this decision and the non-cooperation from recalcitrant countries; more than 6,100 were released in the preceding two years.”

Currently, 23 countries are labeled as uncooperative, with the top five most recalcitrant countries being Cuba, China, Somalia, India, and Ghana.  In addition, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is monitoring another 62 nations where cooperation is strained, but which are not yet deemed recalcitrant.

In the letter to Johnson, Grassley reminded him that, “Congress addressed this problem when it enacted section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Under section 243(d), the Secretary of State is required to discontinue granting immigrant or nonimmigrant visas to a country upon receiving notice from you that the country has denied or is unreasonably delaying accepting a citizen, subject, national or resident of that country.  This tool has been used only once, in the case of Guyana in 2001, where it had an immediate effect, resulting in obtaining cooperation from Guyana within two months.”