• Today
    March 18

  • 10:21 AM

NEW YORK NEW YORK: Hope yet for Bajans on the deportee list?

Tony Best,

Added 26 August 2011


Scores of Bajans facing deportation to their birthplace may be given a second chance to remain in the United States. But the tough question is: what may happen with Barbadians who have already been sent back home? The opportunity and the intriguing query are linked to a decision by the United States Department of Homeland Security to take a second look at 300 000 deportation cases now before American immigration courts. The dramatic move has been hailed by immigration advocates in and outside the United States Congress and the courts who have been pressing the Obama White House for more than two-and-a-half years to change a dreaded policy which has resulted in more than a million people being kicked out of the country. Tens of thousands of men and women from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, many of whom have done nothing more than overstay their allotted time or committed misdemeanors, such as jumping a subway turnstile, possessing a joint of marijuana, shoplifting a $1 pack of salted nuts or sneaking onto a bus without paying the fare. Almost 70 Barbadians in the northeastern United States are in the deportation pipeline and Andre Padmore, Barbados’ Consul in New York, described the move as “a step in the right direction”. He said they were “awaiting a detailed explanation of the administration’s plans”. Immigration is going to be a sensitive campaign issue in 2012 for both President Obama and his Republican rival. That’s because the Hispanic vote is very influential and may hold the key to a second term for Obama. He was elected in 2008 with substantial Hispanic and Caribbean backing because of his pledge to fight for comprehensive immigration reform but was unable to deliver. Responding to pressure from federal, state and local elected officials, attorneys, church and community leaders, Obama has decided on the review to determine who poses a threat to the public or should be given the green light to stay in the country. “Law-enforcement agencies around the country make decisions every day about how to prioritize their efforts to maximize public safety,” said John Conyers, who until January this year was chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington. “The decision to focus resources on people who pose a risk to the public rather than clogging the system with people who are simply trying to support their families and contribute to their communities will benefit immigrants and Americans alike.” Joan Pinnock, a leading Caribbean immigration attorney in New York and New Jersey, said, “It is more than a commonsense move by the Obama administration. “It can allow students to continue their education in the United States and enable parents to continue living under the same roof as their children without fear of being deported.”


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