Guyana preparing to deal with expected influx of deportees from US – President

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The Foreign Affairs and Citizenship Ministries are working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in preparation to handle any possible influx of deportees from the United States, as U.S. President Donald Trump continues his crackdown on illegal immigrants.

President David Granger told the Guyana Times newspaper, during an interview at the Ministry of the Presidency on Thursday, that moves are already afoot to put the necessary infrastructure and facilities in place to receive deportees, even though the United States is yet to inform the Government of any intention to return illegal immigrants.

President David Granger

Should a batch of deportees arrive, the Guyanese Head of State explained that the individuals would have to be classified into various categories and then dealt with accordingly.

“All deportees are not the same. Some may have committed minor offences and some may have committed more serious offences. Some may have gone to foreign countries as children, and they don’t know anybody, they don’t have relatives here, there is no home for them to go; and others may have difference circumstances,” the President explained.

He noted that Government would need to determine which deportees have relatives who are prepared to accommodate them, unlike those who would need State assistance; and Government would also need to determine the various backgrounds of the deportees, in order for them to be monitored.

The US Government has not yet contacted local authorities regarding possible deportees, and the President said protocol would warrant prior warning being sent to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Granger made it clear that his administration has no intention of not accepting any deportees.

President Trump recently signed an executive order which addresses funding and threatens the immigrant and non-immigrant visas of officials of countries that do not take back deportees promptly. The executive order states, “The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State shall cooperate to effectively implement the sanctions provided by section 243(d) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1253(d)), as appropriate.”

The only previous time when the law was triggered against Guyana was in 2001, and that had resulted in this country cooperating fully in less than two months.

Gambia has, so far, actually seen some visa cut-offs after refusing to accept some 2000 deportees.

President Granger had previously expressed some level of concern about Guyana’s ability and capacity to handle any possible influx of Guyanese being deported from the USA.

Caribbean Governments have complained bitterly over the years about nationals being deported to their countries of birth without much information provided as to their medical and criminal backgrounds and, even more importantly, some form of support to assist their smooth integration into their home countries.

In December 2016, almost two dozen Guyanese deportees arrived from the USA, having served lengthy jail sentences for various offences.

In the previous year, the US deported 104 Guyanese.

Meanwhile, Juncata Juvant, an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of deportees to Guyana, was recently resuscitated here. The organisation intends to establish a shelter facility, either independently or through collaboration with the Private Sector and/or Government.

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