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United States hints of deporting more Ghanaians

By Christopher
Arko, GNA

Accra, July 13 GNA – Shirley Ayorkor-Botchway,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has hinted that the United
States (US) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning to repatriate
another batch of Ghanaians.

According to her, the Ghana Mission in the U.S
was yet to be provided with the details of the number of deportees to be
repatriated by the U.S authorities.

Besides, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
through its Missions and Consulates was monitoring the situation closely and
had also decided to work with the International Organisation for Migration in
the interest of Ghanaian nationals.

Ms Ayorkor-Botchway gave the hint at
Parliament when she answered questions from Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of
Parliament ((MP) for North Tongu on claims made by the U.S Ambassador.

Mr Robert P. Jackson, U.S Ambassador in Ghana
on April 27, 2017 at Sunyani made ascertains to the effect that 7,000 Ghanaian
illegal immigrants in the U.S were to be deported. 

Ms Ayorkor-Botchway also noted that as a
result of the claims made, the Ghana Embassy in Washington D.C was requested to
urgently confirm the claims with the relevant authorities and report back to
relevant Authorities.

She said the Mission submitted an enquiry to
the US ICE Agency, but they were unable to confirm whether the number of
Ghanaians deportees was actually 7,000.

She said instead, the Mission was informed
that 180 Ghanaians were under deportation orders, while an additional 185 cases
were at various stages of processing, pending final deportation orders. 

She said the U.S authorities further noted
that 80 out of the 180 who had already been interviewed by the D.C Mission and
Consulate in New York were due to be deported in June, 2017, while the
remaining 100 were yet to be interviewed.

Ms Ayorkor-Botchway also indicated that the
Ministry was informed that because of the legal processes involved, the
deportation exercise would have to be staggered.

She said the ICE on June 14, 2017 effected the
repatriation of 63 out of the 80 cleared for deportation, who arrived on a
chartered flight on the said date.

She said their offences ranged from drug
related issues, asylum seeking and credit card fraud to immigration related
offences.

It was confirmed that all the deportees
exhausted the legal processes to remain in the U.S.

Ms Ayorkor-Botchway also stated that following
the arrival of the 63 deportees, the Ministry caused a Note Verbale to be
transmitted to the U.S authorities through the U.S Embassy in Accra registering
government’s concern about the process and the alleged ill-treatment of the
Ghanaians during the flight to Ghana.

She said her Ministry summoned the US
Ambassador, Mr Robert P. Jackson to her office to discuss the plight of the
Ghanaians who were deported.

According to her, the issues of paramount
concern were; reports of deportees being handcuffed and belly-chained
throughout the flight from U.S to Ghana, lack of food, as well as inability to
attend nature’s call due to handcuffs.

Ms Ayorkor-Botchway further stated that her
Ministry took the opportunity to remind the U.S Ambassador that Ghana is a
signatory to the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of
the rights of all Migrant workers and members of their families and therefore
expected the US authorities to respect the rights of the deportees in all
aspects and accord them dignified treatment so as to ensure their general
well-being.

She said her Ministry also urged the US
authorities to give the deportees the opportunity, where possible, to gather
their belongings before their departure.

She said the US Ambassador in response to
alleged ill-treatment of deportees explained that the deportees had been
previously offered the opportunity to board commercial flights, to which they
refused and put-up resistance.

Ms Ayorkor-Botchway stated that the US
Ambassador denied claims that the deportees were belly-chained or handcuffed
for the duration of the flight and were unable to use the washroom.

According to the US Ambassador, the deportees
were given three meals during the flight adding that under US laws those
affected by deportation orders were always given the opportunity to exercise
their right to appeal until the processes were exhausted.

GNA 

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