Saturday, August 1, 2009
Over 50,000 convicted Caribbean-born criminals, who have called the U.S. home for many years, have been shipped back to the Caribbean in the past decade under tough U.S. immigration laws. The number of criminal deportees sent back to the Caribbean between the decade of 1999 and 2008 totaled 50,589.Last year, the number was at 4,343, a slight increase from 2007, when the total was 4,315. However, it was an improvement from 2005, when the total rose to 5,149, the highest for the decade.The data comes as Caribbean governments continue to express concern over the rise in criminal nationals, sent back to their country from the U.S., which they say has helped to skyrocket crime rates in many of their countries.Overall, the Dominican Republic led the way with most criminal deportees received during the decade, a whopping 22,512. Jamaica was behind, receiving a whopping 14,006 criminal deportees during the decade into a country that has seen a huge rise in crime.Haiti was third with 3,955 criminal deportees received over the ten year period while Trinidad and Tobago, at one time over the decade, dubbed the murder capital of the Caribbean, was sent 2,589 criminal deportees over the ten year period.Between 1999-2008, Guyana, with a population of less than 800,000 people, was sent 1,742 criminal deportees. The country has in recent years seen its share of brutal crimes.Some 940 criminal deportees were sent back to the Bahamas over the 10 year period, which has seen a spike in crime recently.Barbados received 484 for the same period to its 166 sq miles of land while 565 Cuban criminal deportees were sent back to the communist country. Antigua and Barbuda, with a population of 69,000 people, received 303 criminal deportees between 1999-2008 while 177 were sent back to Dominica for the same period.St. Kitts/Nevis, with a 101 square miles land mass, received 134 deportees who were sent back after serving time for crime in the U.S., while 192 were sent back to St. Lucia over the past decade. The 133 square miles nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was sent 202 criminal deportees for the period 1999-2008 while Suriname received only 43.CARICOM leaders again raised the issue of deportees with President Obama, during his trip to Trinidad and Tobago in April, and again with Attorney General Eric Holder, during his recent trip to Barbados. CARICOM said Obama promised to look at the impact of deportees on crime in the region even as the regional heads called for greater pre-consultation with US authorities before any person is deported from the U.S. to any of its member states.He added that he (Obama) found there was need for more comprehensive information from the United States and the country receiving the deportee.CARICOM leaders and Carrington will hold a follow up meeting with the US president before the end of the year in Washington.The U.S. has refrained from any consideration of a revamp of its laws but in 2007, it signed a contract with the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM) to work along with the United States Agency for International Development to conduct further consultations on the resettlement of deportees in Guyana, Jamaica and The Bahamas.