YANGON — The US has deported nearly 30 Myanmar nationals convicted of crimes, and more are expected to follow, Dr. Ro Dinga, president of the Burmese American Community Institute (BACI), told The Irrawaddy.
The US government sent a list of 47 Myanmar nationals slated for deportation to the Myanmar Embassy in Washington two months ago. Of these, 27 were deported on Aug. 22, according to the BACI.
“The government didn’t want to take them back. So the US government put a visa embargo on officials at the level of director-general and above at the Home Affairs Ministry and the Immigration Department. The Myanmar government then relented and said it would take them back, and 27 Myanmar nationals were deported to Yangon,” Dr. Ro Dinga said.
The US government flew the 27 back to Myanmar on a chartered flight. They arrived in Yangon on Aug. 22. Seven of them are ethnic Chin, six are Bamar and the rest are Karen.
Twenty others will also be deported but the date is not yet known, Dr. Ro Dinga said.
“I read that they were deported because they committed crimes. I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Ngai Sek, chairman of the Chin National League for Democracy.
The Irrawaddy was not able to obtain a comment from Immigration Department officials about the deportations.
According to BACI, some of the deported individuals committed domestic violence offenses, some overstayed their visas, some forged passports and some violated other immigration laws.
“I’m sorry for that,” said Dr. Ro Dinga. “The [US] government has tightened restrictions.”
The deportation was carried out by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The agency recently deported nearly 500 Cambodian nationals.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.