United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has posited that the decision by the US to slap Ghana visa restrictions is neither a threat nor a hasty decision as suggested.
According to him, the US is only enforcing its immigration laws and that, the over 7,000 Ghanaians who are facing deportation orders have either overstayed their visas or violated US laws.
He told Accra based Citi Fm that, said the US has maintained a very cordial diplomatic relation with Ghana and has always sought to deport Ghanaian citizens who have overstayed their visas or broken US laws to be deported in a very safe way.
He said Ghana is currently reneging on its legal obligation to issue travel documents to Ghanaians under deportation orders which will allow them to be deported via commercial flights.
He also revealed the number of Ghanaian deportees is the 6th largest in the world.
“The United States in Ghana have a great relationship. 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,” he said.
“The statement that the embassy issues saying that Ghana could face visa sanctions is not a threat, and I don’t want it to be a threat. 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. It is not any more complicated than that. We’ve gone public because we see a few travel documents being issued and it stops,” he added.
He added: “Just as Ghana deports people, the United States also have the right to deport people. 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 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.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has refuted claims that has failed meet its obligations under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAD).
The Ministry in the statement said it ‘’continues to engage its Missions in the United States of America on the matter and has already communicated their concerns to the US Embassy in Ghana about the need to do due diligence and establish the nationalities of the deportees before they are issued with travel documents.’’