Immigration Statistics Show No Discrimination against African Nationals – December 10, 2014
The Minister of National Security, Senator the Honourable Gary Griffith says this country and its immigration laws do not in any way discriminate against African immigrants.
In response to public comments on the recent deportation of illegal African nationals, Minister Griffith reminded that the Ministry of National Security has the mandate to secure and protect the nation’s borders and points of entry and as such, will continue to ensure that the immigration laws of this land are enforced.
Minister Griffith strongly dispelled the perception that the Immigration Division has been purposely targeting illegal African nationals due to their race and nationality. He reminded that, contrary to public figures that choose to make race an issue in this case, the Immigration Division is operating according to proper procedures and the law in the best interest of citizens.
The Minister said deportation statistics from the Immigration Division for January to October 2014 fully support his statements all along as the statistics clearly show that African nationals are in the minority of deportees. The highest figures recorded were Jamaicans – one hundred and forty-seven (147); Guyanese – one hundred and forty (140); Dominican Republic – fifty-nine (59); Colombia – eighteen (18); Chinese – fourteen (14); and Grenada – fourteen (14). Only three (3) African nationals from Nigeria were deported for that ten (10) month period.
Minister Griffith stated that it is through no fault of the Ministry of National Security that the recently deported illegal African nationals, who were housed at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC), were detained for an extended period of time. Firstly, due to a lack of cooperation from detainees, the Ministry experienced several challenges which delayed the repatriation process. Many detainees refused to complete or sign relevant travel documents and visa applications to facilitate their repatriation. In such cases, alternate travel routes had to be explored, resulting in substantial costs to the State and a delay in the deportation process.
The Ministry also experienced other challenges in treating with detainees, including delays in sourcing travel documents from parent countries, and the inability to properly identify individuals housed at the IDC as a result of inconsistent false information provided by the detainees themselves. Furthermore, all expenses for repatriation had to be met by the Trinidad and Tobago Government for African nationals, unlike repatriation of other nationalities.
It must be noted that recently, two (2) African nationals who were housed at the IDC were given approval to leave the facility on condition that they reported in with the Immigration authorities at specific times; however, they failed to comply with this requirement and are now considered fugitives of the law.
Minister Griffith guaranteed that all proper protocols will continue to be followed in accordance to the law in repatriating illegal immigrants and all measures will be taken to safeguard the borders of Trinidad and Tobago.