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Ghana denies noncooperation with US over deportations

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Ghana’s foreign ministry is denying United States allegations of noncooperation in taking back thousands of its deported nationals, which has led to visa restrictions.

A statement late Friday by the West African nation notes the restrictions “with concern and disappointment.”

The U.S. Embassy has said it will start imposing the restrictions Monday following an order by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They affect employees of Ghanaian diplomats in the U.S., Ghanaian businessmen and employees of the legislature.

The U.S. has asserted that Ghana “has denied or unreasonably delayed” accepting its deported nationals, but Ghana’s foreign ministry said it has always cooperated.

The ministry statement said as of Jan. 8 the Ghanaian mission in Washington had received 28 applications from U.S. authorities, with 19 interviewed and 11 travel certificates issued. Outstanding cases are due to unclear nationality, ill health and pending U.S. litigation, it said.

“Officers of the U.S. Embassy have verbally informed the ministry that there are about 7,000 Ghanaians who are at different stages of deportation proceedings,” the ministry said.

However, “there has not been any confirmation by the U.S. authorities of a final court order for their removal in accordance with the U.S.’s own laws.”

The latest annual report by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says 243 Ghanaians were removed during the 2018 fiscal year, down from 305 the previous year. Ghana ranked 20th in the number of nationals deported. The only other African nation in the top 20 was Nigeria, which ranked 17th last year with 369 nationals deported.

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