Cross-examiNATION: We should fight the deportation folly

By Alexander Shaw, Columnist

It is not uncommon to hear or behold people who have become undesirables in certain countries being uprooted from their desired civilization and transported back ‘home’.

For many years, the issue of deportation has been plaguing the Caribbean and Jamaica is no exception as – now more than ever, we embarrassingly are recipients of the plane-loads of people deported.

I believe it is unfair for the receiving country to accept people who, by virtue of either their involvement in criminality or at the very least some violation of immigration laws, serve no real good to the receiving State, and will further deplete that State’s resources.

I am equally unsupportive of any dislocation based solely on nationality, considering that a number of deportees have no real attachment to their country of nationality, especially where they migrated as infants and were schooled in the country undertaking the deportation.

The truth is, it poses difficulties for both the adopted country and that of the law-breaker’s nationality – more so the latter.

However, let us unravel what I perceive to be the genesis of this problem.

Like any other third-world citizen hunting for greener pastures, many Jamaicans will not hesitate to leave the sand, sea and sun for colder climes. The zeal is not merely to witness snow; nor is it just to shop in ‘Dollar Store’.

The zeal is to run from Jamaica like Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife. Why the running though? For a few people in Jamaica, the economy is growing and life is much better. For the average man – whether he says prosperity or progress, the minimum wage just cannot cut it, and for him to lead a good life in this country, he needs the ‘green card’ come hell or high water.

And if that dream materializes, he will try hard to get up his family members – some of who will go abroad and take opportunities for granted.

Some end up being earmarked for deportation, and so they have to choose between hard life ‘a yawd’ and breaking the immigration laws abroad.

For those deported, what will happen when they return home? Is it really home in the first place?

The discrimination, the ridicule, and the constant denials will plunge many into depression.

To fix this major issue, international intervention is needed along with a rigorous overview of immigration laws. It will not happen overnight and will certainly not be placed on the table by first world countries, as they are not the ones falling prey. Therefore, I call on our government to bawl aloud until others join the cry.

Quite frankly, one who left one’s native country before attaining the age of five – knowing little or nothing about its values because one was schooled and fed with the principles of the adopted country, should not be forced back on one’s native soil after running afoul of the law. It is madness and should not continue.

A person with resident status who has paid for crimes through the criminal justice system should not pay a second time by means of deportation. I think it is more than a life sentence and should be a breach of natural justice. Stop it!

Alexander L. Shaw is an educator and an attorney-at-law. The views he expressed are not necessarily those of The Beacon. Email your feedback to him at Legalservices.alexandershaw@gmail.com and to The Beacon at jamaicabeaconnews@gmail.com


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