By: Kebba AF Touray

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Ousainou Darboe, has said a total of 191 travel documents have been requested by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency of the US (ICE), from September 2016 to May 2018.

Darboe made these remarks at the National Assembly on Friday June 22nd 2018, while responding to a question put to him by the Member for Serre Kunda, Halifa Sallah.

“Out of 191 travel documents requested, 162 have been issued. 29 were denied due to lack of sufficient documentation to support their request. However, during my tenure, 42 was issued,” Darboe explained; that according to the Laws of the United States, once deported or removed, an alien is not allowed to re-enter the country unless given special permission to do so by the United States Attorney General.

He stressed that since America is a sovereign state governed by its own Laws, they are not in any position to ensure the return of the deportees back to the US.

“It is paramount to note that deportation has long been going on and as such if one is in a foreign land and has the intention to settle in that country, it is obligatory upon the individual to regularize his or her status and in the event the individual fails to do so, the Law of that country will take its course,” he clarified; that to the best of his knowledge, there is nowhere in the world where the Government is responsible of regularizing the status of her citizens residing outside its jurisdiction.

He said resettlement is done with other countries that have packages for deportees but the US does not give such packages to deportees; that it is against their Laws to give financial packages to individuals found illegally residing in their county.

“If the parliamentarians feel that that there is need to help resettle Gambians who have been deported from the US, a request for budgetary support from the Ministry of Finance, would be done,” he remarked; that the Ministry has agreed to facilitate duty free service on all their belongings coming into the country.

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