TCI lifts ban on Haitian deportation
The Turks and Caicos Islands’ Ministry of Border Control and Labour announced on Thursday, 6 September that the government has lifted its moratorium on deportation to Haiti.
After the Haitian earthquake in January 2010, 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 that had left Haiti, until the situation there had stabilised and basic services had been restored.
The TCI Government, like other neighbouring countries (the Bahamas, the US, and Jamaica), suspended the deportation of illegal migrants already in TCI, except for those arriving illegally by sloop. All other nationals continued to be treated in accordance with the law throughout this period.
A TCI government release stated that UK Ministers have been consulted about this recent decision, and support it, on the understanding that all deportations from the Territory are subject to due process of the law. The UK will continue to provide the TCIG with technical assistance to support more effective border control and enforcement.
Persons can 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.
“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, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Border Control and Labour.
“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 and traffickers, whilst targeting those migrants involved in criminality or causing harm to our communities.
“We also continue to crack down on illegal workers 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,” she stated.