General News of Thursday, 13 July 2017
Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has revealed the United States of America has failed to confirm that some 7,000 Ghanaian illegal migrants were awaiting deportation.
The Minister was in Parliament to respond to questions posed to her by the Honourable Okudzeto Ablakwa, the MP for North Tongu.
The MP asked whether the 7,000 Ghanaian illegal migrants said to be facing deportation from the US has come to the Ministry’s attention.
The Minister in her response said, the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC was requested to urgently confirm the claims with the relevant authorizes and report back promptly.
US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson recently told the media that some 7,000 Ghanaians living illegally in the country were being processed for deportation.
“In fact about 7,000 of them are currently at different stages of the deportation process.
And we are not apologetic about that,” Mr Jackson said in the Brong Ahafo Region on Thursday, 27 April. However, when an enquiry was submitted to US Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, ‘’they were unable to confirm whether the number of Ghanaian deportees was 7,000.
Rather, 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,’’ the Minister said.
The US authorities she said noted that 80 out of the 180 who had already been interviewed by the DC Mission and Consulate in New York were due to be deported in June 2017, while the remaining 100 were yet to be interviewed. ‘’The Ministry was informed that because of the legal processes involved the deportation exercise would have to be staggered.’’ She added, 63 Ghanaian illegal migrants were on June 14th, 2017 deported out of the 80 and arrived in a chartered flight.
The deportees offences range from drug related issues, asylum seekers and credit fraud to immigration related offences adding, it was confirmed that all the deportees exhausted the legal processes to remain in the US prior to their being removed to Ghana, she said.
According to the Minister, Ghana reminded the US Ambassador that Ghana being a signatory to the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families therefore ‘’expected the US to respect the rights of the deportees in all aspects and accord them dignified treatment so as to ensure their well-being.
The Ministry also urged the U.S authorities to give deportees the opportunity, where possible, to gather their belongings before their departure.’’
Meanwhile, the US Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning to repatriate another batch of Ghanaian illegal migrants on a chartered flight in due course, the Minister announced but the Ghana Mission is yet to be provided with details of the number of deportees, she added.