Minister Gary Griffith, in response to concerns raised by the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago regarding the plight of African illegal immigrants at the Immigration Detention Centre in Aripo and its subsequent call for a review of the immigration policy, said it matters not whether an illegal immigrant is from Africa or the Caribbean. He said regardless of where an illegal immigrant is from, the breaking of this country’s immigration laws will not be tolerated.
He said there were 131 illegal immigrants at the Detention Centre, of which 23, or 17 per cent, are Africans – the bulk coming from Nigeria of which there are 14 persons and Ghana of which there are 7 illegal immigrants.
He said Jamaica made up the highest number (46 per cent of the 131) and Guyanese (23 per cent).
Minister Griffith said the rest of those detained came from Venezuela, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Pakistan, Barbados, Romania, Vietnam, Portugal, Senegal and Dominica.
The Minister yesterday reiterated that anyone found by immigration officials or police who have overstayed their time or is deemed to be a threat to national security or a liability to the State, will be considered illegal and would be expected to be sent back to their home country.
Minister Griffith also stressed that an illegal immigrant getting married to a Trinidad and Tobago national did not automatically allow for legal status in this country.