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More than 80 Haitians who arrived in Jamaica since last year repatriated

By Clinton McGregor 
   
The government says most of the Haitian migrants who arrived on the island illegally since July last year have been returned to their homeland.
 
In a statement Wednesday, National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang disclosed that the Jamaican government is developing a temporary humanitarian stay option for Haitian nationals already in Jamaica.
 
The Jamaican government has faced heavy criticisms from human rights groups, Stand Up for Jamaica and Freedom Imaginaries, over its rapid repatriation policy for Haitian migrants fleeing the violence.
 
The government insisted that it did not possess the resources to house the Haitians, some of whom had applied for asylum.
 
But in his statement Wednesday, Dr. Chang argued that the temporary humanitarian stay option being explored by the administration is contingent upon successful background checks, security screenings, and meeting other prescribed requirements for Haitians already in the island.
 
Dr. Chang said some migrants have applied for asylum in Jamaica, while others face various charges in court.
 
The Security Minister reported that between July 2023 and May 2024, there were five recorded illegal entries of Haitian migrants in Jamaica.
 
While some have sought asylum and are being processed under the Refugee Policy, approximately 80 Haitian migrants have been repatriated, and twenty-two 22 remain in police custody pending ongoing court proceedings.
 
He said the group of 37 Haitians who arrived illegally in Jamaica on July 10, 2023 have been relocated.
 
Between June 8 and 11, the Ministry of National Security, in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, facilitated the relocation of the Haitian migrants.
 
This move was necessary to return the property temporarily provided by the North East Jamaica Conference of the Seventh Day Adventists.
 
Regarding the group's immigration status, Dr. Chang said the Ministry is currently reviewing each case individually and will provide further updates at an appropriate time.
 
In the meantime, Dr. Chang said the government, through the Foreign Ministry continues to collaborate with regional and international partners to address the social and political challenges in Haiti.
 
The Multinational Security Support mission, led by Kenya, is in an advanced state of readiness, with the Jamaica Defence Force leading joint training operations with other CARICOM countries in anticipation of deployment.
                                                                                         


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