DESPARDES — President Donald Trump shortly after being elected, had said his administration would deport as many as 3 million unauthorized immigrants with criminal records living in the United States.
One such deportation appears to have become a massive bureaucratic problem: Two men deported from the US (wrongfully they say) are stuck in limbo in same hotel in .Sierra Leone
Saren Idaho tells BBC he has no connection to Sierra Leone and had never been to the country until he was deported there from the US six months ago.
“I know nobody here,” lamented the 55-year-old father of two.
Documents were forged to bring him there, he claims.
“America forged documents to bring me here claiming this to be my country of citizenship,” he said. “And I know I was not born in this country.
Idaho was angry with the US authorities.
“I am from the Commonwealth of Dominica. What is so hard about returning to the US?”
Idaho said he had been living in the US for 28 years until he was arrested and jailed in 2018 for driving while drunk.
He has lost all his ID documents. They were in a house that was seized by the bank as he was unable to pay the mortgage because he was imprisoned, he said.
“All my possessions, including my birth certificate, are locked in a store somewhere after the takeover of the house,” he told the BBC.
Prince Latoya, 47, was on the same deportation flight and is in the same situation.
Latoya, said he was originally from the Bahamas. The two men are now staying in a hotel in Sierra Leone’s capital.
Both men, who had never met before coming to Sierra Leone, were long-term residents of the US. But they say they were originally from the Caribbean, which the US authorities dispute, according to BBC.
Idaho and Latoya were expelled last August, along with 17 Sierra Leoneans, among other West Africans, who had been convicted of committing crimes in the US.
They ended up on that flight after staff at Sierra Leone’s embassy in Washington DC were put under pressure by US officials, according to Isha Sillah, director for the Americas and the Pacific at the foreign ministry in Freetown.
She said the US immigration authorities had submitted documents to the embassy that “appeared to suggest” that the two men were from Sierra Leone. Without cross-checking, embassy officials issued them each with an Emergency Travel Certificate (ETC).
Embassy staff had told her that “what contributed to the issuance of the ETC was also pressure piled on them by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security” to accept them as Sierra Leoneans.
This has now become a massive bureaucratic problem. Meanwhile, they are stuck in limbo in the hotel.