As US President Donald Trump forcefully pursues his crackdown on illegal immigration, Guyana may be at risk of losing critical funding and access to visas if Government refuses to accept deportees from the United States of America.Guyanese President David GrangerUS President Donald TrumpAn executive order signed by President Trump last week threatens immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to 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 time the law was triggered before against Guyana in 2001, the country cooperated fully in less than two months. Some 23 countries are currently at high risk of being sanctioned.According to testimony by a high-ranking State Department official before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in July 2016, “at the top of the current (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) ICE list of recalcitrant countries” were Cuba, China, Somalia, and India.At the same hearing, an ICE official also referenced 23 recalcitrant countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Zimbabwe.Expanding on this list, ICE Director Sarah Saldaña told the Senate Judiciary Committee that, as of January 2016, the list of recalcitrant countries consisted of Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, Cape Verde, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.Only one of these countries, Gambia, has actually seen some visa cut-offs after that country refused to accept some 2000 deportees.Commenting on his new policy, President Trump declared that “the day is over when they can stay in our country and wreak havoc. We are going to get them out and we are going to get them out fast”.Adequate noticePresident David Granger already expressed some level of concern about Guyana’s ability and capacity to handle any possible influx of Guyanese being deported from the USA.The Guyanese President explained that a better approach to the situation would be for the US to provide ample time and adequate notice before sending the undocumented criminals back to Guyana.“We will have to put measures in place to ensure deportees do not try to perpetrate crimes when they get back here, but it is something we must prepare for,” he had stated during his televised programme, “The Public Interest”, in November.Caribbean Governments have complained bitterly over the years about nationals being deported to their country of birth without much information provided as to their medical and criminal backgrounds and even more importantly, some form of support regarding 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.Head of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Criminal Investigation Department, Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum said the deportees were convicted for homicide, narcotics, robbery and other offences.Blanhum said the deportees would be monitored. “We will be monitoring them. Yes, there is legislative provision for that and we’ll be monitoring them.”In the previous year, the US deported 104 Guyanese.Meanwhile, Juncata Juvant, an organisation dedicated to improving the lot of deportees in 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.At the relaunching ceremony last year, the body’s Vice President, Ruth Howard had promised to deliver a wider range of initiatives to ensure holistic development, support, reintegration and assistance to involuntary remigrants under a five-year plan.
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