AS U.S. Bans Sierra Leone… Government Negotiates

In yesterday Monday edition, The Exclusive reported that the United States Department of State has declared that the United States of America will not issue almost all immigrant and non-immigrant visas to Sierra Leoneans applying at the Embassy in Freetown. 

This, the release said, is due to continued delays by the Government of Sierra Leone to accept its citizens who are subject to a final order of removal.

Now, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a press release has said that the US claim is not true. It informed the public that it was in receipt of a communication from the US Embassy in Freetown conveying an order from the Secretary of State of the US Government expanding visa sanctions on Sierra Leone to include immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

The Ministry clarified that the Government of Sierra Leone has for some years now been collaborating with the US Government to facilitate their return to Sierra Leone of her nationals in the US that have been identified for deportation.

“As a country,” the MFAIC communiqué said, “We have collaborated with the US, to the extent that we have even received non Sierra Leonean citizens in the process of compliance.”

As such, MFAIC stated that the Government  of Sierra Leone notes with concern  that visa sanction extension has been communicated  in just two weeks after Sierra Leone  had receive 8 more deportees in series of deportations by the US over the years.

“The Government of Sierra Leone,” MFAIC said, “wishes it to be known that it is willing to receive nationals from the US where both countries act in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Convention.”

Thus, MFAIC assures the public that the government is in negotiation with the Government of USA for the removal of these sanctions, considering the continuing compliance on the part of Sierra Leone in accepting its nationals.

Controversy between USA and the Sierra Leone Immigration dates back to 2017 over the issue of the USA’s decision to deport to Sierra Leone felons that the Immigration Department maintained are not Sierra Leoneans, even when they are said to be carriers of the country’s passport. The US threatened to deny immigration and other government officials’ visas to enter the US if the government did not comply.