TCI deports Haitians as humanitarian amnesty ends

| 07/09/2012

deportees01.jpg(CNS): The Turks and Caicos Islands government said Thursday that it has lifted its moratorium on deportation to Haiti. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) appealed to governments to suspend temporarily all involuntary returns to Haiti, and to grant interim protection on humanitarian grounds to all those thathad left the country, until the situation there had stabilised and basic services had been restored.  TCI had in response suspended the deportation of illegal migrants already in TCI.

“The lifting of the moratorium on deportation is part of the ministry of border control and labour's commitment to enforce the law firmly, fairly and effectively,” said Clara Gardiner, the permanent secretary for border control in a release.

“Through the development of our intelligence capability and establishment of a Joint Protocol with the Police, we are focusing on those threats and individuals who seek to undermine the integrity of our Borders such as Sloop arrivals, facilitators & traffickers, whilst targeting those migrants involved in criminality or causing harm to our communities. We also continue to crack down on illegal working and those employing persons without the proper permits.

“Alongside partners, and in line with the enhanced 'track and trace' capability that the new Coastal Radar facility will provide, we are reviewing instructions and refining guidance contained in the  National Irregular Migrant Contingency Plan, to further improve our Island response capability," the minister added.

Government officials said UK ministers have been consulted about the decision, and support it, on the understanding that all deportations from the Territory are subject to due process of the law.

Persons can only be removed from the Turks and Caicos only by lawful deportation under the Immigration Ordinance. This will either be on the basis of having been convicted in a court of law of a criminal offence, and recommended for deportation by the court, or by administrative deportation, in which case they will be given due notice of the intention to deport them.

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