The United States of America has threatened to impose visa restrictions on Ghana if the country continues to disregard its obligation under the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The US government says though Ghana has been a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation since 1957, regarding the regular issuance of travel documents, Ghana has often shirked its responsibility to interview deportees on a regular basis and issue the necessary travel documents.
A statement issued by the US Embassy on Wednesday said due to Ghana’s posture, the US has been forced to employ charter flights for deportations instead of commercial flights.
It, therefore, warned, “If Ghana fails to comply with international obligations regarding the issuance of travel documents, the United States may be forced to begin implementing visa restrictions on Ghana, in accordance with U.S. law.”
The statement recalled that in December 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identified Ghana as being at “risk of non-compliance on removals of those under deportation orders”.
According to the statement, the U.S. government has repeatedly engaged the Government of Ghana in both Washington D.C., and Accra and has urged the government to abide by its international obligations and issue the necessary travel documents so that Ghanaians under deportation orders may depart the United States on commercial flights.
The statement emphatically pointed out, “the United States of America takes its legal and human rights obligations very seriously. In the course of enforcing U.S. immigration laws, the U.S. government would strongly prefer that individuals under deportation orders depart the United States via commercial air carriers, as regular passengers.”
Ghanaians have therefore been encouraged to abide by legal processes if they seek to immigrate to the United States.
“All nations have the right to enforce their immigration laws. The United States embraces its special character as a nation of immigrants, and we continue to welcome those who enter the United States legally and respect U.S. laws. However, enforcing our immigration laws is a responsibility we owe to the American people, just as Ghana enforces its own laws. So far this year, Ghana has used its own legal processes to deport 100 individuals of different nationalities who were found to be in violation of the law.”
It, however, commended the “Government of Ghana for taking steps to promote private sector growth that will create employment opportunities for Ghanaians; foster even greater security; and ensure a promising future for Ghana’s youth, thereby minimizing illegal immigration to the United States.”