Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will later today [Monday], meet the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, and other officials of the Embassy over the impending deportation of some 7,000 Ghanaians.
The meeting is aimed at finding a solution to the ensuing impasse between the US and the Ghana government over the issuance of travel documents for some 7000 illegal migrants in the US.
The US government wants travel documents from the Ghanaian government to deport the Ghanaians, but a delay in the process is creating tension between the two countries.
The United States Embassy in a statement issued on Wednesday indicated that the government of Ghana was not complying with international obligations regarding the issuance of travel documents to Ghanaians awaiting deportation in the USA.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Min. Of Foreign Affairs & Reg. Integration.
The statement said the US would be forced to begin implementing visa restrictions in accordance with its laws as a responsibility owed the American people.
Some have accused the US of trying to bully Ghana by the threat, but according to Ambassador Robert Jackson, the US has fairly engaged Ghana on the matter.
86 Ghanaians were deported from the US in March 2018 for flouting immigration rules
He told Citi News that he has been holding discussions on the matter with government officials in the Mahama administration as well as the current Akufo-Addo government, but nothing fruitful has come out of those discussions.
“It is unfortunate that almost 7,000 Ghanaians are facing deportation from the US because they have overstayed their visas or broken US law. We have been working with the government of Ghana my entire time here to repatriate people in the most humane way possible…. I’ve been talking with the government of Ghana about this for over two years. This is not [a] hasty [decision]. I talked to Members of Parliament. I talked to people in in the old government; I talk to people in the current governments. I am acting on instructions. This is not something I am initiating. We will enforce our immigration laws,” he said.
He however said he is ready for further engagements on the subject, but is more interested in having the government of Ghana take action.
“I’m open to more dialogue but I want action. I want to encourage action and put this problem behind us,” he said.
The government has explained that it cannot be rushed to issue travel documents to illegal migrants in the United States of America without carrying out “due diligence” in establishing that indeed the illegal migrants are all Ghanaians.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway
But the US Ambassador believes that the Ghana embassy in the US could hasten the process if it interviews the illegal migrants daily to ascertain their citizenship.
“What I want is for the embassy of Ghana in the United States to interview one person facing deportation and issue one travel document every business day. If the Embassy does that, we will solve this problem,” Ambassador Jackson told Citi News.