Tue | Sep 17, 2019

Jamaican American congresswoman ups pressure for US to suspend deportations

Published:Sunday | December 29, 2013 | 10:04 AM

NEW YORK, Dec 28, CMC - With Latin America and the Caribbean registering the most deportees from the United States in 2013, Jamaican American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has reiterated her call for President Barack Obama to suspend the deportations programme.

“I have asked President Obama to suspend deportations of non-violent persons until we enact comprehensive immigration reform that permits these families to resolve their legal status in the United States,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York.

“In each instance of deportation, families are forcibly separated, leaving behind a husband or wife without a spouse or children without a parent,” said Clarke, who is the Ranking Member of the US House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies.

She told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that “these forced separations of families are excessive and has created a crisis that has resulted in more harm than good".

She added: “The exercise of excessive deportation is inhumane and flies in the face of the values and morals of a nation established by immigrants for immigrants. We cannot allow this exercise to continue.”

In announcing the year-end removal numbers, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said Jamaicans were among the top 10 nationals deported in 2013.

ICE said the top 10 deportees were from Latin American and the Caribbean, with 1,119 from Jamaicans while 2, 462 nationals were from the Dominican Republic.

The immigration agency said Mexico continued to be the leading country of origin for those removed, followed by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

ICE said 98 per cent of the agency's total removals were convicted criminals, recent border crossers, illegal re-entrants or those previously removed “in line with agency's enforcement priorities”.

Clarke said “many of these men and women have lived in the United States for practically their entire lives.

“Many arrived here in their youth as children and, in many cases, entered the United States lawfully and were granted resident status,” she said.

“But ICE said the figures “highlight” the agency’s “ongoing commitment to primary immigration enforcement missions: the apprehension of criminal aliens and other immigration violators in the interior of the United States; and the detention and removal of individuals apprehended by ICE and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States”.

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