US President Donald Trump addressing a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Photo: YouTube
By Claudette de la Haye
Caribbean News Now contributor
#mediawomanrising #JointSession #realDonaldTrump
WASHINGTON, USA -- On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress, saying that the US should move away from lower-skilled immigration and adopt a merit-based system.
He also promised new steps shortly to "keep out those who would do us harm" -- which could allude to a new executive order to replace the blocked travel ban, and that construction of the US-Mexico border wall would begin soon, but without elaborating on how it would be paid for.
Uncharacteristically, Trump did little adlibbing and sounded more presidential than as portrayed in the typical caricatures and cartoons, as illustrated in a tweet by former president of Mexico, Vincente Fox, that Trump should build a wall around himself to encase his racism, fear, hatred and alt-right and alternative facts.
Cause and effect of new immigration policy
For people of the Caribbean, “Dem should be ‘fraid like puss” as to the cause of Trump’s immigration policies and, the effect it will have on Caribbean emigrants abroad. Why? You only need to look at state of island nations like Jamaica, where there are remittance inflows of $2 billion in foreign currency. Jamaicans and other Caribbean immigrants from the Caribbean are now at greater risk when operating in the sub context of the United States economy.
Immigrants may well be fearful to go to work as Homeland Security and Border Patrol agents become the extension of immigration enforcement, rounding up and deporting some 70,000 illegal Jamaican aliens living in the USA. And, you only need look at the 75 deportees that arrived at 7pm at Kingston’s Michael Manley Airport on Friday, February 24, 2017.
Neither Jamaica nor the rest of the Caribbean is equipped with the resources to deal with the repatriation of its own citizens who have had no contact with the island let alone family for the majority of their lives but will require scarce jobs, lest they become a part of the social narrative of violence, corruption and gangs.
A reduction in remittances to the Caribbean is inevitable, ranging from a temporary inconvenience to disaster for some families dependent on support from abroad. And STATIN, Jamaica’s statistic bureau, has no way of breaking down the numbers to decipher what percentage of remittances are sent by illegal aliens versus those legitimately working in the United States.
In other words, we will just have to let this one play itself out, as the devil will be in the details in quarterly trends a year from now.
And, in absorbing deportees, the Caribbean faces the uphill task of expanding their individual island nations' economies to develop foreign currency reserves, as well as improving production for exports, let alone attracting foreign investments.
We are indeed globally connected, where everything is indeed everything. It is time for politicians to pick up the pace, clean house and see about real independence and adopt good fiscal policy for corporate governance but, more importantly for lending institutions, to free up loans to micro, small and medium sized companies. Companies that are the economic engine and growth to the employment of people especially, the youth and the future prosperity of the region.