The government of the United States in its defense of the categories of visas, on which they recently imposed restrictions, has blamed their action on the unwillingness of the Ghanaian government to cooperate in meeting the requirements of international deportation.
Stephanie Sullivan, America’s ambassador to Ghana, said in a press conference that the Ghanaian government has consistently not met the mandate of the UN Convention which had been accepted internationally as a standard on International Civil Aviation. According to her, some of these cases of international deportation have not received the cooperation of the Ghanaian government since July of 2016.
Sullivan further revealed that there were double efforts made by both the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security which have since then, been communicating with the Ghanaian Embassy in Washington as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issuing of passports to Ghanaian citizens who are in the lineup for deportation within 30 days as prescribed by International Civil Convention of the UN.
Ghana’s delay in processing travel documents for its citizens lays an extra financial load on the US because it had on some occasions, been compelled to make arrangements for charter flights to take the Ghanaian deportees back to Ghana.
For this reason, according to Sullivan, the US government has put the issuance of new visas to the domestic staff of Ghanaian diplomats in the US on hold with effect from Monday.
She further announced that the five-year validity period on the Tourist and Business visa as well as its permitted number of entries has been restricted to 1-month single entry visas for all employees of Ghanaian executive and legislative branches. The restriction is also extended to the spouses of these employees and their children who are less than 21 years.
Apart from Ghanaians who are government employees, this restriction also extends to citizens of Ghana who have diplomatic as well as official passports.
Ghana reacts to the visa restriction
Mrs. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in Ghana, swiftly responded to the US envoy in a statement where she said that the Ministry was disappointed with the US over its decision to enforce visa restrictions on Ghana. According to her, Ghana had never failed in her obligations and duties to cooperate with the US in respect to the deportation of her citizens.
The Minister further explained that the Ghanaian Embassy in Washington DC first verifies that all prospective deportees in the US-bound Ghana are citizens of the country. She also expressed disapproval over the way the US deported Ghanaian citizens previously, cuffing them to their seats and binding them in belly chains.
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