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General News of Monday, 25 June 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Visa restriction threat: Government mustn’t bow to US pressure – Ras Mubarak

National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, has asked the government to take a firm stance against moves by the US government to repatriate some Ghanaians awaiting deportation in that country.

The US Embassy had threatened to among other things, charter flights for the deportation of these migrants.

It indicated in a statement that this had become necessary, following Ghana government’s non compliance to international obligations regarding the issuance of travel documents to its citizens awaiting deportation in the USA. “…When the Government of Ghana fails to meet its ICAO obligation regarding the regular issuance of travel documents, the U.S. government is forced to employ charter flights for deportations. The Government of Ghana has the power to reduce, or even end, the use of charter flights by meeting its obligation to issue travel documents in a timely manner,” the statement had said.

However the MP, who believes the US government’s posture is problematic, advised government against bowing to the former’s demands.

‘Offer helping hand’

He believes the US government, rather than issuing threats could offer a helping hand by providing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with equipment that could help it establish the identity of the supposed Ghanaian migrants.

“We are not asking for handout or aid but help build the capacity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in determining who really is a Ghanaian and the authenticity of those documents these people may be in possession of, but to just say that they should bring them back home is not something Ghana should be tolerating and I will encourage government to stand firm not to bow to pressure.”

“We are not going to sit back and just allow you to bring anyone you claim is a Ghanaian on the basis of that person holding a document purporting to be from Ghana. If we did that then we may be having people who are not really Ghanaians into our country,” he argued on Citi TV’s Breakfast Daily.

On threats by the US to implement visa restrictions, the MP indicated that Ghana could equally reciprocate.

“They have a right to determine who stays in the country just as we do. If there is any threat or whatsoever about using visa denials to get us in line, we can equally reciprocate. We have a system where Americans can even come into our country and even pick visas on arrival… why can’t we ask of same? We are partners.”

We can’t rush travel documents’

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, last Friday, explained that it cannot be rushed to issue travel documents to illegal migrants in the US without carrying out “due diligence.”

The Ministry, however, said it remained committed to ensuring that all challenges are resolved.

“The Ministry wishes to place on record that 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 nationality of the deportees before they are issued with travel documents,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, 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.