Ghana’s Ambassador to the U.S. has been caught in a cat and mouse game, with the US authorities piling pressure on him to sanction the deportation of thousands of Ghanaians.
Dr Agyei Bawuah has described as unfair, pressure on him to give his approval for hundreds of Ghanaians to be sent home for violating U.S. immigration laws.
“It leaves me with difficulty to sanction the deportation of my citizen and I have been trying hard to explain this to the authorities,” he told Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey.
According to the frustrated Ambassador, he does not understand why he has to sanction the deportation when there was a contract between the VISA applicant and U.S authorities in granting entry into the U.S.
“If that is what is to be done, I don’t have to give the U.S. permission to deport the very person they themselves accepted,” he explained.
His comment follows reports that close to a thousand Ghanaians held in detention centers across the U.S are awaiting their deportation to Ghana if only Dr Bawuah signs for that to happen.
Last year in a meeting with a parliament select committee, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P Jackson confirmed that “7,000 Ghanaians who have overstayed their visas or are staying in the US illegally are in various stages of the deportation processes.”
“There will be additional deportations because the 7,000 people who are under deportation orders have either committed crimes in the United States or long overstayed the visas on which they entered,” Mr Jackson said.
The deportees are being sent home for various offences, ranging from drug possession, larceny, assault, theft, sexual assault, identity theft, illegal entry, forgery/fraud, resisting arrest and other non-criminal offences.
US Ambassador, Robert P Jackson
But Ghana’s Ambassador to the U.S. said he cannot independently confirm that the persons to be deported were taken through legitimate and fair trial and cannot, therefore, be the one to sanction their deportation.
“You can only take it on the strength of the fact that the Americans say the trial was fair because you were not in the courtroom. You don’t know whether the person’s defense lawyer did seriously and adequately question the prosecution,” he said.
“Our argument is that we don’t have to be the final arbiter in the execution of a deportation order because we don’t have the information,” he said.
Clement Apaak, Builsa South MP
Joy News has learnt talks to resolve this standoff has yet to yield the desired results as the Ambassador has asked his host country to review their process.
Encouraging the Ambassador to stay strong and act in the best interest of Ghanaians, a member of Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Clement Apaak said international protocols demand that Ghanaian citizens are treated with respect and human dignity in their host countries.
“We urge our Ambassador to stand firm and not feel intimidated or be pushed to rush and allow for the affected Ghanaians to be deported without the proper and due process being followed,” he said.
The Builsa South legislator said he expects the Foreign Affairs Minister to brief parliament on the latest on the deportation from the U.S.
He said information is needed on who they are, why they are being deported, where they hail from.
He also called for logistics to be put in place for the Ghanaians so that in the event they are deported they won’t be as traumatic as their exit from the U.S.