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The Departments of State and Homeland Security issued visa sanctions against Ghana due to its “lack of cooperation” in repatriating their nationals who were ordered removed from the US. The order will restrict certain categories of visa applicants until “cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level.”


“Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. “The United States routinely cooperates with foreign governments in documenting and accepting U.S. citizens when asked, as appropriate, as do the majority of countries in the world, but Ghana has failed to do so in this case. We hope the Ghanaian government will work with us to reconcile these deficiencies quickly.”

ICE requires countries of origin to provide travel documents to facilitate the removal of foreign nationals. When those documents are not provided, ICE must release the foreign nationals, many of whom have committed crimes in the U.S., after 90 days under the Supreme Court’s Zadvydas v. Davis decision.

The Trump Administration issued similar visa restrictions on the countries Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Eritrea in 2017. The restrictions included tourist, business, exchange and student visas for government officials and their families.

Ironically, Ghana this week warned criminal foreign nationals that they are being monitored and could be repatriated. Lord Afrifah, the Deputy Controller General at the Ghana Immigration Service, said “I can assure you that we are monitoring them. In the last one year…we repatriated almost 800 from a particular area again. We are collaborating with the police.”

Read more in Quartz.

Updated: Fri, Feb 15th 2019 @ 12:40pm EST