Immigration nabs almost 200 offenders in one year

| 01/08/2011

(CNS): Officials from the immigration department have revealed that over the last twelve months the enforcement arm has made close to 200 arrests for a variety of immigration offences. Both employers and employees have been charged in a year which saw ninety more arrests than the previous twelve months. Law breakers were in some cases faced with fines and others were taken through the courts. Officers dealt with more than 14 different types of immigration offences including illegal landing and overstaying. Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Enforcement, Gary Wong, said 198 arrests were made between July 10 and July 11 compared to 108 between July 09 and July 10.

The twelve month period began with an amnesty that saw 67 men and 20 women voluntarily depart from Cayman with no questions asked including one person who had overstayed by more than 12 years.

Wong said that although employees made up the greater number of offenders some 50 employers were also charged with offences while several others were warnedin relation to immigration breaches. He said fifteen people were charged with employing foreign nationals without permits, while four were arrested for causing an individual to overstay. 

Some of those arrested faced multiple charges, and the most common offences were working without a permit or outside the terms of a permit, making false representations and obstruction.

The department revealed that not surprisingly as the nationality with the largest number of permits more than half of the offenders 107were Jamaican, while permit holders from Honduras and Canada also committed numerous offences. Caymanians were the next highest group breaking immigration laws followed by people from the Philippines, Cuba and the United States.

The option of administering direct fines resulted in the majority choosing to pay penalties rather than go to court. As a result the Enforcement Unit collected more than $175,000, a little below the $182,000 during the previous year. All those charged with illegal landing were prosecuted in court where boats and other items used for committing the immigration offences were forfeited to the crown.

“We are continuously working with other agencies to control the criminal element by targeting and prosecuting those who land illegally, or attempt to do so”, said Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans.

She pointed to the case of four Jamaican nationals who were intercepted off North Side in mid-May, during a joint special operation including contingents from the Royal Cayman Islands Police, HM Customs and Immigration Enforcement Section.

The four people were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment terms of between six and fifteen months for illegal landing and attempted human smuggling. A 32-foot canoe was seized and forfeited to the crown as a result of the operation.

“These officers work under difficult circumstances, and are dedicated and committed to ensuring that breaches of our immigration laws are detected and prosecuted,” Evans said.

Officials also said that 40 Cuban migrants had been intercepted between July 2010 and June 2011 – the largest the largest number since 2008, when 207 persons were recorded.

For more information, applicants and businesses may seek legal counsel, or contact the Enforcement Unit at legalim@gov.ky or call 534 2546. Or, contact the Department of Immigration on 949-8344, or online at www.immigration@gov.ky

Category: Local News

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Enforcement of the immigration laws should be easier but when anyone is allowed to turn a blind eye to wrong doing it becomes a major problem.  We need the kind of immigration officers and department that we had back in the late 60's to the early 80's where they would follow the letter of the law and no one was above the law.

  2. Good Job Gary says:

    Good job Gary!  Enforcement starts at home.

    We need to name and shame (plus fine and prosecute) our own population who abuse our system. The law is the law and is there for a reason, not a convenience.

    It is NOT okay to bring in a part time helper, pay them $100 per week and let them fend for themselves to find other work.  It is NOT okay to pay such a low wage that basic living rights and food are denied.  It is NOT okay to share permits by convenience!

    Modern day slavery still exists and if you look around our islands.  I bet every local can name "one" person they know of who "Bends the rules".  Times that by every Caymanian family and we have a problem.

    Mr. Wong, keep up the good work. I've called for sting operations in the past…**since the last time I advertised for a helper or gardener, I have over 30 responses from people "only working part time for a Caymanian"  I was sickened at the overwhelming response, decided there was a problem that had festered for too long, and urge every Caymanian "IF" they are abusing the system, to please stop now.  Following the rules has to start at home to set the example.  

    Thank you again Mr. Wong, your long standing service is appreciated and I am pleased you take your position serioiusly.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Having that direct hotline is a very good idea Ms. Evans, we know theres more where that came from!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just wish Mr Wong and his team would now turn their attentions to the department itself and tackle the Immigration Officers who are –

    1. Running, or involved in the running of, businesses employing people on work permits.

    2. Moonlighting as 'immigration advisors'.

    3. Doing work for ex-employees who are now 'immigration advisors'.

    4. Doing favours for friends, relatives or whatever to smooth the processing of work permits for their employees.

    5. Blatantly discriminating against employers they regard as being in competition with companies owned by friends, relatives or whatever.

    6. Harrassing work permit applicants by losing documents, requiring unnecessary medical checksand other all the other nasty little tricks that go on every day.

    The problem with law enforcement is that it can never be a one-way street and you cannot gain credibility by simply dealing with the external problems.

  4. Michel says:

    And there are a lot more illegals lost in the system. We would be shocked to know how many illigal residents we have here. Unsolved crimes ? Easy. Good Job Immigration Dept. Michel Lemay

  5. Anonymous says:

    Now if they could really stand up for unemployed Caymanians who want to work and are willing!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Check the number of permits taken out for helpers by persons in the hospitality industry and those people are working in other jobs in their estabilished businesses?

       They are always a step ahead of Immigration.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS: Caymanians were the next highest group breaking immigration laws followed by people from the Philippines, Cuba and the United States.

      Don’t be surprise even Caymanian doing the dirty job too talking about expat and their are the one breaking the own law, respect your law to have other people respected too, have to laugh.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks CNS.

        More caymanians arrested; explains the increase in arrests. Sigh!!