Marks wants greater effort to combat deportation
Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks has revealed that some 20,000 Jamaicans have been deported from the United States to Jamaica over the past 10 years.
"Nearly 90 per cent of Jamaicans returned from all countries, namely the United Kingdom and Canada, during this period were deported for reasons unrelated with violent crimes, the most common offences being immigration and drug-related offences," Marks said.
Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural Jamaica Diaspora Northeast Trailblazer Awards at the Rosedale Village ballroom in Queens, New York, on October 29, Marks said it was time to bring the full force of the talent and resources of the diaspora to combat this problem.
"We must stop the deportation of young members of the diaspora who have spent most of their lives right here and currently are more American than Jamaican," she said.
CALL FOR UNIFICATION
The ambassador called on diaspora organisations throughout the US to unite as mentors and protect marginalised immigrant youths from being recruited into criminal activities.
Marks commended the creation of the Diaspora Crime Prevention Task Force, but pointed out that the task force does not need to make another fact-finding trip to Jamaica "as the problem starts here and your talents are right here, and if organised into an intervention force in Jamaican communities throughout the US, you can put a dent in exporting the crime problem back to Jamaica".
She continued: "We need to firstly ensure that every eligible Jamaican green card holder becomes a citizen, because I am seeing too many cases of young men who came here at basic and primary school age and are now being deported back to Jamaica when they are at college age, with no opportunities for a second chance in Jamaica."