Caribbean migrants living in the United States are keeping an extremely close eye on today’s US presidential election.
With the contest between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican choice Donald Trump set for an epic showdown following what has arguably one of most contentious races for the White House in contemporary times, some Caribbean migrants are reported to be wary of a Trump victory.
During his campaign trail, Trump has openly and repeatedly spoken about deporting all illegal immigrants if he is elected to office.
President of the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM) Nirad Tewarie said while the organisation is not political and does not get involved in politics he felt that “the rhetoric that has characterised the campaign has not been good for democracy anywhere.”
“Trump’s policy on immigration has a lot of people from the Caribbean diaspora, including Trinidad and Tobago, very concerned,” the Trinidad Guardian quoted Tewarie as saying.
Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus, Dr Bishnu Ragoonath, also told the newspaper that there was genuine concern among the immigrant community.
“People are concerned about what will be Trump’s position on immigration. They want to know how he will treat with illegal immigrants from the Caribbean,” he said.
Statistics from the Clinton camp indicate that Caribbean immigrants make up approximately 3.2 per cent of the illegal immigrants in the US.
Tewarie said that during her campaign, Clinton had not followed the crime and justice policies that her husband followed in relation to the deportee issue.
“That would be a good thing,” he said.
Ragoonath said there was also concern whether, if Trump won the election, he would implement a proposal to limit visas to people who have Islamic names.
That, according to Ragoonath, is important “for many people in Trinidad and Tobago and the region.”
On the issue of trade, he told the Trinidad Guardian that “both candidates have indicated a withdrawal of American leadership for expanded international trade, so that is a concern”.
As far as Clinton is concerned, the political scientist said there would be a continuation of the policies of the Obama regime if she won, and people would feel a lot safer.
“They see Hillary as the lesser of the two evils, but we have to wait and see what the outcome of the election will be,” he said.
Barbadian political scientist Peter Wickham is predicting a Clinton victory.
But he told online newspaper Barbados Today that while the majority of Caribbean people would support her based on all information available, he saw no “fundamental difference with one or the other with regards to how we in the region would fare”. (Caribbean360)