302 Ghanaians face imminent deportation from US – Ayorkor Botchwey

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway

About 302 Ghanaians living in the United States of America (USA) illegally face imminent deportation from that country, the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has revealed.

The expected number is the remainder of 365 people penciled down to be repatriated to Ghana out of which 63 were deported for various offences including drug related issues, asylum seeking, credit card fraud and other immigration related offences.

The number is made up of 180 illegal Ghanaian migrants who are under deportation orders and an additional 185 whose cases are at various stages of processing, pending final deportation orders.

This number falls short of the 7000 stated by the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson earlier in April.

“In fact about 7000 of them are currently at different stages of the deportation process. And we are not apologetic about that,” Mr Jackson said at the time.

That revelation of Mr Jackson was followed by the repatriation of the 63 Ghanaian citizens from the US in June.

Answering questions on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday in relation to the condition of Ghanaians in the USA, Ms. Botchwey said the next batch of the affected people will be repatriated in due course.

“The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency is planning to repatriate another batch of Ghanaian nationals from the US to Ghana on a chartered flight in due course,” she said. “The Ghana Mission is yet to be provided with details of the number of deportees to be repatriated to Ghana.”

According to Ms Botchwey, MP, Anyaa-Sowutuom, her ministry, through its missions and consulates, was monitoring the situation closely and was working closely with the International Organisation for Migration in the interest of Ghanaians.

She said apart from ensuring that they were deported in line with international regulations, laws and respect for human dignity, government was in talks with the US government to allow Ghana-bound deportees to be allowed to have access to their personal belongings.

On the plight of Ghanaian domestic workers in the Arabian Gulf, the mission in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia was working assiduously to redeem such people from maltreatment from their ‘masters’.

The embassy, however, she said it was faced with constraints including physically identifying where such victims may reside as well as work contracts signed with private recruitment agencies which are not available to the mission so as to know the terms and conditions of engagement.

Ms Botchwey said government, as part of its mandate, swore to protect all Ghanaians living home or abroad and would not renege on that commitment, adding that a new mission was being established in Kuwait, one of the Gulf countries, so as to reach a greater number of Ghanaians in the area.

On the reported case of the death of 44 Ghanaians and Nigerians whilst crossing the Sahara Desert, Ms Botchwey said the Ghana Mission in Burkina Faso was yet to confirm the report.

“In the meantime, the ministry will keep monitoring the situation and would apprise Parliament of further developments,” she added.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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