Sixteen deported from US to Sierra Leone – more to follow

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 August 2019:

It is thought that there are as many as one hundred thousand or more Sierra Leoneans or people with Sierra Leonean passports, living in the United States. Many are believed to be illegal immigrants or serving jail term.

After decades of US humanitarian policy of giving second chance to those arriving at its shores for a better life, President Trump has decided enough is enough.

Immigrants from several African countries and their families living in the US are now scared, looking over their shoulders, worried and thinking whether and how soon they will be snatched by the immigration police for deportation to their country of birth. Critics are referring to this Trump immigration policy as inhumane and racist.

Deportees are chained like slaves. They are not allowed to take a single item of personal property with them, other than the clothes on their backs. Many have spent most of their lives in the US which they call home, and have very little connection to Sierra Leone.

Life in Sierra Leone is going to be very tough if not impossible for some of the deportees. This will put immense strain on the country’s healthcare, social and welfare services.

It is not clear what specific formal arrangements have been made with governments in countries like Sierra Leone to receive and properly rehabilitate or resettle those that are being deported back to their homeland.

Furthermore, it is not clear how much funding the government of Sierra Leone has received or is receiving from the US government to help the US manage its immigration policy.

Sierra Leone does not have enough space at its prisons to accommodate its own prisoners. let alone take responsibility for those deportees that are being released from US prisons to serve jail term in Sierra Leone. Quite simply, Sierra Leone does not have the resources nor the capacity to cope with this US deportation policy.

Yesterday there was news of the arrival in Sierra Leone of 16 deportees from the US. This is Alhaji M.B Jalloh’s report:  

Sixteen Sierra Leonean passport holders have been deported back to Sierra Leone by the U.S. authorities, for alleged criminal and other immigration-related offences, according to a Sierra Leone Police spokesman.

The deportees comprising 15 men and one woman, arrived at the Lungi International Airport on Wednesday, 14th August, 2019.
They are currently being held at the Headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Freetown, Superintendent of Police, Brima Kamara told me on the phone earlier today, Thursday, August 15.

Some of the deported Sierra Leonean passport holders, the Police spokesman said, have been profiled by the relevant authorities while others were still undergoing screening to ascertain whether they originated from Sierra Leone or not.

“Those that have successfully undergone the screening will be allowed to depart to their various destinations while the few suspected to have obtained Sierra Leone passports by dubious means will remain in police custody until investigations are completed,” Superintendent Kamara said.

He also told me that the Sierra Leone government is working closely with the American Embassy in Freetown to receive more deportees within the next two weeks.

Speaking from the Criminal Investigations Department this afternoon, one of the deportees alleged that, he was deported without going through the legal process in the US – an allegation the US Embassy in Freetown has vehemently denied.

“All the deportees were allowed to go through a legal process before issuing the Emergency Travel Certificates to leave the United States, ” A US Embassy official in Freetown told me on the phone late this afternoon.

Another deportee confessed that some of them were living illegally in the US but was also quick to say that: “Majority of Sierra Leoneans living and working in the US are peaceful and law abiding. “

He added that: “I have no criminal record, I was in the US working to support my family back home so that they can have a better life for themselves.”

7 Comments

  1. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your PATHS straight.” God will surely grant you strength and courage to triumph again. Bless you!

  2. I deeply regret the 180 degrees turn on Sierra Leoneans in the USA. USA has long been described as a place where everything is easy once you are hard working. Is it possible to say so again? I do not think so. Many Sierra Leonenas will surely find it hard to work in their home country. They are used to American way of life. This situation is going to give headaches to many in the USA. Many Sierra Leaoneans now find it very difficult to settle again.

  3. It is difficult to imagine how the deportees are feeling. But there must be a sense of devastation, shame at being sent back when least expected; sense of loss at leaving all their friends and families in the USA; and mostly apprehension, as they have no idea how their loved ones in SL will receive them. But most of all – disorientation, trying to understand how things work in the home country; and most important, finding a job.

    But with time, things are always better. They need the help of the government now more than ever, and support of their families and friends.

  4. What did the government say abut that, are they coming to join the suffering of the country, no justice, no freedom of speech.

  5. Congratulations to our brothers back home. It is hard but God knows best. Take heart and have faith in Allah. This is going to be a blessing for you all. No place like home.

  6. Tenki for una encouragement. Non of una know how e feel for get deported back. But good word ee tanleke merecin. Nahe make we people den special unique one day we sef go get the power for lead a holy life for halman to see say we sef don repent for true from all we lie lie.

    God dae all sai yaa. Nor cry – wipe you yei and pray to Papa God ya. Hope day for you ya – cry to you Papa Na Heaven ask am for help you. Nor give up pan life, take courage; good courage you still get future you nor die yate.

    One day you sef go look and laugh this problem. Shame to the problem – you na mortal man okay? We hll leke you ya – nor feel sorry again for you sef. Feel sorry for the wan den wae nor able help you. You are now free. You try – ee nor woke clap for you sef. Na time now for try other things. Only this time try leke a born again person okay?

    Okay even if one person came say e leke u and ee want to marry you first tell you Pastor, you parents or elders in you family. Refuse for throw you dignity away. In Jesus name live for God the highway. Amen

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