By Ismail Akwei, Africa News, 2017-06-15
Over 70 Ghanaian immigrants were deported from the United States on Wednesday for visa-related offences including staying illegally, over staying their permits.
The all-male deportees arrived at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport in handcuffs before they were handed over to local authorities, local media report.
The actual number of immigrants was not clear, but according to local news portal 3news.com, security and disaster management services welcomed the deportees and assisted them to get to their destinations.
They were reported to have been given 100 Ghana Cedis ($23) each after clearance as some of them had no luggages nor means to contact their families.
I want to stress that we all have to condemn the way these deportees have been treated. Inasmuch as we all concede that the deportees have questions to answer, it is important that these deportees’ rights are respected.
This is the second mass deportation of Ghanaians from the United States in recent times.
Last year, the United States deported 108 Ghanaian immigrants for reasons including drug-related offences, staying illegally, over staying their permits and other crimes.
They were returned to the Kotoka International Airport in November.
The deportees refused to disembark from the plane in protest of alleged inhumane treatment including shackling before and during the journey.
It took the intervention of Ghanaian security and immigration officials to convince them to disembark after over an hour.
Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway had said in January that Ghanaians without proper documentations abroad should reconsider their decision and return home.
Member of Parliament and former deputy education minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa condemned the ill treatment of deportees who are shackled or handcuffed.
“I want to stress that we all have to condemn the way these deportees have been treated. Inasmuch as we all concede that the deportees have questions to answer, it is important that these deportees’ rights are respected,” he told local radio Class FM on Thursday.
The U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert Jackson said in April that about 7,000 Ghanaian immigrants in the United States were being processed for deportation.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to deport illegal immigrants and immigrants with criminal records as part of his immigration laws to be rolled out.
Despite former President Barack Obama’s push for immigration reforms, a record 2 million deportations have been executed during his administration.