Over 100 Liberians languishing in prisons in the United States and Canada risk deportation, The NewDawn has learnt. Liberia’s Ambassador accredited to the United States, Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, made the disclosure during a recent congressional hearing that brought together a cross section of Liberians in the Diaspora and some members of the United States congress to discuss the current Ebola crises and the immigration status of Liberians on the Deferred Enforcement Deportation (DED) which expires this September.
According to a press release, Ambassador Sulunteh told the hearing that about 50 Liberians, who committed various offenses and are currently incarcerated in Canada, are awaiting deportation, while another 64 are also listed for deportation to Liberia from the United States criminal justice system. ‘ He said the total number of Liberians listed for deportation from Canada and the United States is 114.
Sulunteh said with the Ebola crises in Liberia, the Liberian government, through its emissaries in both Canada and the United States, are working with immigration authorities to delay the deportation proceedings, noting that if executed now, it could pose a burden on the government and people of Liberia in these critical times of the country’s history.
He informed guests at the program that the Liberian government was seeking an alternative to the deportation proceeding by appealing to the governments of the United States and Canada to engage those Liberians listed for deportation in rehabilitation programs that would make them productive, instead of deporting them to Liberia that is already devastated by the Ebola disease.
According to the release, when immigration authorities were contacted both in Canada and the United States, they confirmed the presence of the Liberians in prisons both in the United States and Canada.
Immigration authorities in the two countries said as law enforcement institutions, they were authorized to arrest and turn over individuals, who violate state law for legal action to be taken against them. They said if Liberians are found guilty of crimes, they would serve their respective prison term and later deported to Liberia.