By LK Hewlett
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- In light of the Trump administration’s latest executive order on detention and removal of illegal immigrants from the United States, St Kitts and Nevis is being encouraged to establish mechanisms to deal with deportees returning to the federation en masse.
On Monday, the US Department of Homeland Security published a memo regarding new border security and immigration enforcement policies designed to “stem illegal immigration and facilitate the detection, apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens who have no lawful basis to enter or remain in the United States.”
According to the memo, Homeland Security intends to establish detention facilities and beef up personnel in the agencies that deal with immigration enforcement. The order also speaks to authorizing qualified officers or employees of the state to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States.
President Donald Trump has stated that he is going to remove 11 million undocumented people from the US, and Caribbean leaders have acknowledged the impact it could have on the region, saying international affairs had engaged their attention at last week’s Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government summit. CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said this emerging issue necessitates that regional leaders strategize on how to best deal with it.
Jamaica has already taken steps to strengthen the policy, legislative, and institutional framework guiding the management and treatment of deportees, by teaming up the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to fund a project called the Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Involuntary Returned Migrants in Jamaica.
St Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to the US, Dr Thelma Phillip Browne, is also of the view that the federation should seek partnership along those same lines.
“We would like to get help to reintegrate them… we can’t just wait and hold our hands out. We too have to strengthen our systems to help with the resettlement and reintegration of these persons,” she said.
The ambassador told WINN FM that assisting returned migrants is important as some may fall into a life of crime to support themselves, having returned to the federation often times without any means of financial support.
“Some of these people they return, they’ve been here [US] from since they were children, all their family is in the States; so they come back home, and first of all they are angry that they have to return home. They come back and have difficulty resettling, reintegrating. Sometimes they may not have the economic means, and that’s a recipe for trouble,” she said.
Browne however encouraged St Kitts and Nevis nationals living in the US illegally, to return to the land of their birth and make a positive contribution to its national development.
“Why be illegal in someone else’s country when you have your own. In light of this I see every weakness has a strength, every threat as an opportunity to look at ourselves and what we can do to strengthen our own country, our own systems and prepare it for its place in the world,” she said.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network