Police ready for possible influx of deportees

Friday, November 11, 2016 - 09:15

The Police Service will be ready to deal with the consequences of whatever policies US President-elect Donald Trump implements regarding the deportation of T&T nationals.

This was the assurance given by acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams yesterday as he noted there was not much the organisation could say at this time since no measures had been implemented as yet by the US Government. Trump will take up office next January.

“But when policies are in fact implemented we would be notified in advance and we would be given enough time to put things in place. That is how the system works. But whatever policies come into effect we will be prepared,” Williams said in a telephone interview.

During one of his speeches, Trump alluded to the deportation of millions of immigrants living in the US illegally and for the end of automatic citizenship for children born to foreigners on US soil.

On whether or not the Police Service was fearful of a criminal wave arising out of the possibility of mass deportations from the US, Williams maintained that was not the case.

“Once you are fearful then you are sending the wrong signal. Whatever comes, my officers will be fully prepared for it," Williams said.

President of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association, Insp Michael Seales, echoed Williams' sentiments, saying the issue was still shrouded in much speculation. But he said if there was an increase in the deportation of criminals, local police officers may be forced to battle more sophisticated crimes.

“The other aspect is if there is an influx of criminals from the US, which again is speculation, there might be an increase in murders, as such deported persons might want to assume leadership positions in the various pockets of crime areas, resulting in infighting among the various gangs and could very well lead to more murders.

“But again, all of this is just speculation,” Seales said.

He, however, said he was confident the Police Service had enough resources and manpower to deal with such eventualities.

Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) president, Gregory Aboud, also agreed that citizens ought not to be fearful of a suspected wave  of T&T nationals being shipped back to this country.

He said the organisation had no apprehension regarding an increase of deportees, especially criminals, saying the US agencies already had a stringent deportation policy in place to deal with that.

“President-elect Trump would have to change many of the legal requirements pertaining to deportation and immigration, and this is a lengthy process given the independent functioning of the Houses of Congress and the Senate.

“In that regard, Trump would have to convince a majority of both Houses of his plans before he could enact any of the changes people are currently fearful of and that is one of the principal reasons we believe there is no need for any hysteria that is currently being expressed,” Aboud said.

However, Aboud said the issue of T&T citizens who had overstayed their time without work permits or without resident status was an entirely different matter, as such people were productive, law-abiding citizens who would be an asset to T&T.

“If they are returned to us it would be to our benefit because these are productive, serious members of society. If they stay it would also be their benefit, because they are working and supporting their families.

“It might be a more serious concern for the individual rather than for the country but it is obvious our country does need a cadre of serious productive individuals who could contribute to the productive capacity of our country,” he added.

SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Geisha Kowlessar)

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