Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Unwanted foreigners - 58 deported from Jamaica in the past six months

Published:Sunday | October 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson

Approximately 60 persons have been deported from Jamaica since April as law-enforcement agencies step up efforts to keep undesirable visitors from the nation's shores.

The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) says drug crimes, overstaying without work permits and illegal entry and re-entry to the island are the main reasons for which persons have been deported.

"PICA has experienced success in its efforts to collaborate with other agencies in apprehending and deporting persons who are guilty of immigration offences and other crimes," said the agency in response to questions from The Sunday Gleaner.

"The partnership is intelligence-driven and it has helped us in not only detecting immigration breaches but also in playing our part in the fight against crime.

"The data reveals a steady reduction in the number of persons being deported ... this is as a result of the measures that have been put in place to deter persons from using Jamaica as a trans-shipment point," added PICA.

According to PICA, in the first six months of this financial year, 58 persons were deported. This compared to the 139 person deported in 2016-2017 and 123 deportations in 2015-2016.

According to PICA, it has also tightened up on unwanted visitors entering the island through official ports, thanks to its facial recognition system.

"With regard to illegal entry, note that this can occur both at land and sea; however, a significant proportion of persons apprehended has been mainly at sea," said PICA.

The agency said it has been working closely with members of the Jamaica Defence Force, the police, the National Intelligence Bureau and Jamaica Customs to prevent persons from entering the island illegally.

In his presentation in the 2017-2018 Sectoral Debate, Minister of National Security Robert Montague had reported that the facial recognition system installed at the island's ports has resulted in the apprehension of 473 multiple passport holders.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com