NAN – Caribbean governments are being warned to prepare for more criminal deportees to the region under the Donald Trump administration.
The warning comes from Irwine G. Clare, Sr. O.D., head of the Caribbean Immigrant Services in New York on the heels of the President-elect’s vow in a 60 Minutes interview aired Sunday, that he will deport 2-3 million criminal immigrants from the United States.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump told CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday night.
Asked for his reaction, Clare last night told News Americas that Caribbean governments “must equip themselves for more criminal immigrants coming back to the region soon and quit being laissez-faire about it.”
He said given the region’s dependence on tourism and the issues of crime and guns already being dealt with in many countries in the Caribbean, the addition of more criminal immigrants to the region could present a nightmare scenario.
“It’s a caustic situation and it could get nuclear,” Clare said.
The Caribbean has been battling with thousands of criminal and other deportees to the region since the 1996 immigration reforms and many have blamed crime in the region on criminal deportees who spent time in US jails and were then sent back to small countries unable to track them or police forces less savvy than the criminals.
Trump, who was swept into office amid a wave of support for his vows to kick out millions of immigrants and build a wall, said he would immediately deport at least 2 million undocumented immigrants as soon as he takes office in January.
“We’re getting them (criminal immigrants) out of our country,” he said, adding that only after that would he secure the border and “make a determination” on the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
Under Trump’s proposal, a person arrested by police — regardless of how serious the crime is, without knowing whether they are present illegally — would be held in jail, and their removal proceeding would begin without due process.
Such an approach to enforcement is consistent with Trump’s call to bring back two DHS enforcement programs that rely on local governments, which are being phased out because they didn’t effectively target violent criminals, and opened up the potential of racial profiling.
Trump also proposed to “issue detainers for illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings if we even have to do that.”
The 2 million figure refers to the total number of “removable criminal aliens” as determined by the Department of Homeland Security, and refers to convicted non-citizens in the country legally and illegally.
While Trump states it as fact, an independent think tank analyzing immigration policy estimated that more than half of the 2 million are convicted criminals who are not U.S. citizens, but lawfully in the country.