Liberian immigration authorities have placed deported U.S. – based Liberians under family custody upon arriving in Liberia on Wednesday afternoon, 2 November, but with strict instruction to obey a three month surveillance in which they must report to the immigration headquarters twice a week.
There were claims that a former Liberian House Speaker was a prominent person among the deportees that were under police and immigration escort from the airport to the Headquarters of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization or BIN in Sinkor Wednesday.
The deportees were returned to Liberia for different crimes, some of which included burglary, aggravated assault, drug abuse, money laundering, theft and sexual assault, among others. Inside security sources have reliably hinted the NewDawn newspaper that the former Speaker drove in the Immigration Commissioner’s vehicle on their way to the BIN Headquarters under the escort of armed officers of the Emergency Response Unit or ERU and Police Support Unit or PSU led by Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations Col. Abraham Kromah.
Prior to the deportees’ arrival here, BIN Spokesman Abraham Dolley had earlier announced that 21 Liberian deportees from U.S. were due here on Wednesday.
Photo taking and journalists were not invited inside BIN premises upon the arrival of the deportees, but there were mixed reactions from on lookers outside the Headquarters. Angeline Norton who claimed that her first cousin named Richard B. Clay was among the deportees expressed unhappiness during an interview. She said her cousin went to America when he was very small, but he had now been sent back for crimes he committed.
“At least … you [are] happy when your somebody [is] coming from America with good news, it makes you proud. But when they say they’re deporting your … [family] … from America, you can’t look happy because the name deportee, it can look bad,” Said Angeline.
She claimed that Richard’s mother had informed her son not to follow behind a white friend at night when they encountered police who had tried to stop them before they began escaping from police. She said Richard entered somebody’s apartment, allegedly leading to his deportation. Angeline said she was not told the main reason why police in the U.S. were running after Richard and his friend.
A commercial motorcyclist, Charles Bernard said he did not identify any of the deportees to be his relative, but he suggested that it was frustrating to see a family member being deported from the U.S., adding “Now, I’m here I want to go [to] America. [If] I go there I can’t act foolish,” he said,
Lamin T. Dolo also told reporters that he felt very hurt about the deportation, but noted that there was nothing “we can do” on grounds that when Liberians go to the U.S., they do not think that they are from Liberia or Africa.
“… They go ahead taking themselves to be born American citizens, go against the law. And [as long] you go against the American law, they will have to send you back to where you belong,” Dolo argued.
He alluded that this may hamper a lot of Liberians’ chances to travel to America, and urged that Liberians should be more careful if they go to America by living according to the laws so that they can be able to leave and return to the U.S. anytime.
Elizabeth Appleton urged other Liberians that are in America to do something serious because America “is a hustle land.” “You go there to hustle to build your home; you don’t go there to misbehave in the people’s country to join the citizens to misbehave. They will send you back to Africa, and you know Africa is very hard,” Elizabeth said.
But she remained confident that going to America will not give Liberians hard time on grounds that “John Brown’s problem is not your problem.” Immigration authorities here are suggesting that the deportees have already served their penalties for crimes they were convicted for in the U.S., and that they did not commit any crime in Liberia, urging that they be integrated into the society as citizens.
The deportees were seen dressed in white shirts, and they had white bags containing numbers for each of them. Those whose family could chatter cars or use their personal cars took them immediately after being turned over to them; while those who did not have such privilege could only ride on commercial bicycles or tricycles to get home. They were served food sealed in aluminum foil at the BIN’s chaplain section before their family members began taking them in their custody.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah