The United States (US) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning to repatriate another batch of Ghanaian nationals from the US to Ghana on a chartered flight ‘in due course.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, told Parliament last Thursday that the Ghana Mission was yet to be provided with details of the number to be repatriated to Ghana.
She said the ministry, through its missions and consulates, was monitoring the situation closely and had also decided to work closely with the international Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the interest of Ghanaian nationals.
Ms Botchwey was answering a question by the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, as to whether reports of 7,000 Ghanaian immigrants facing deportation from the US had come to the ministry’s attention and what the ministry was doing about it.
Ms Botchwey said following claims by the US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert Jackson, that 7,000 Ghanaian illegal immigrants were awaiting deportation, the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC was requested to urgently confirm the claims with the relevant authorities.
She said according to the mission, the US ICE was unable to confirm that the number of Ghanaian deportees was 7000.
“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,” she said.
The minister said the US authorities further noted that 80 out of the 180 who had already been interviewed by the DC Mission and Consulate in New York were due to have been deported last month, while the remaining 100 were yet to be interviewed.
She said the ministry was informed that because of the legal processes, the deportation would be staggered.
The recent deportation
Ms Botchwey said subsequently, the ICE on June 14, 2017 repatriated 63 Ghanaians out of the 80 cleared for deportation.
She said the offences of the deportees ranged from drug-related issues, asylum seekers whose applications were rejected, credit card fraud and immigration-related offences.
“It was confirmed that all the deportees exhausted the legal processes to remain in the United States prior to their being removed to Ghana,” she said.
Gulf states On the plight of Ghanaians in the Gulf states, Ms Botchwey said the issue of the abuse of Ghanaian young ladies working as domestic assistants by their employees in the Arab Gulf remained a matter of concern to the government.
She said in countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the ladies were subjected to all forms abuses ranging from extortion of money, displacement, unpaid wages and sex slavery.
She said the missions, in collaboration with the IOM, were processing to bring some of them home, while steps had been taken to discourage the migration of young ladies to the Arab Gulf.