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U.S. visa sanctions unjustified – Ayorkor

Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has expressed disappointment with the American government’s decision to impose visa sanctions on Ghana.

“Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals removed from the United States,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a press statement.

“Without an appropriate response from Ghana, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population. The sanctions will remain in place until the Secretary of Homeland Security notifies Secretary Pompeo that cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level,” the American statement added.

Reacting to the development, Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry described the U.S. action as uncalled for, since, according to a statement, Ghana is complying with all arrangements towards receiving Ghanaians illegally living in the U.S.

The ministry noted that: “It has always cooperated with the U.S. authorities in the processing and removal of Ghanaian citizens who have been cited for deportation from the U.S to Ghana.”

It explained that: “As is the requirement, and, in accordance with international law, the Ghana embassy in Washington D.C. undertakes identification and verification processes to ensure that all persons earmarked for deportation to Ghana are bona fide citizens of Ghana. All countries undertake these processes to accept their deported citizens from all over the world and it is not peculiar to Ghana and the U.S. The identification and verification mechanisms have stipulated timelines and procedures which are communicated to the deporting authorities at all times.

“It should be noted that as of 8 January 2019, our Washington mission had received 28 applications from the U.S. authorities out of which 19 has been interviewed by the embassy and 11 travelling certificates issued for their travel to Ghana. Those outstanding are as a result of doubts on their Ghanaian nationality, ill health, and pending litigation in U.S. courts.”

Ghana Foreign Affairs Ministry said it is, therefore, surprising that the U.S. authorities would ignore international protocols that need to be observed in matters of deportation and make allegations of lack of cooperation.

The ministry said the allegations are unfounded and the sanctions imposed on Ghana are without any justification whatsoever.

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