Illegal immigrants being kept at police stations

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 08:45

Il­le­gal im­mi­grants are cur­rent­ly be­ing kept at po­lice sta­tions as there con­tin­ue to be in­suf­fi­cient space at the Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre in Aripo.

This was re­vealed by Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Stu­art Young in the Sen­ate on Tues­day. Young was asked by Op­po­si­tion Sen­a­tor Wade Mark in light of state­ments made by the Chief Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cer that ex­er­cis­es to de­tain il­le­gal im­mi­grants are on halt be­cause there is no more room at the fa­cil­i­ty.

Young said this was in­ac­cu­rate as just on Mon­day, 20 il­le­gal im­mi­grants were held. He said he could not say why the Chief Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cer made that state­ment but did ad­mit that the Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre is very close to ca­pac­i­ty.

He said Gov­ern­ment is deal­ing with that sit­u­a­tion by us­ing tem­po­rary hold­ing ar­eas like the po­lice sta­tions to keep il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

In the long term, he said Gov­ern­ment is look­ing at us­ing a com­pound which was pur­chased by the Peo­ple’s Part­ner­ship Gov­ern­ment for the pur­pose of a prison but nev­er put to use. The min­is­ter was re­fer­ring to the East­ern Cor­rec­tion­al and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre at San­ta Rosa.

“That ware­house that was pur­chased by the for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion for hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars that wasn’t suf­fi­cient to be a full-scale prison, we are look­ing at util­is­ing that now for the de­ten­tion of il­le­gal im­mi­grants,” he said.

Young could not give a def­i­nite time frame for this but did say work to make the site suit­able has al­ready be­gun.

On Sun­day, the MP for Tabaquite Dr Su­ruj Ram­bachan said it seemed as if law en­force­ment had giv­en up in pro­tect­ing the coun­try’s bor­ders.

He said there was a clear im­mi­gra­tion cri­sis that the Gov­ern­ment can­not han­dle. Young said that was far from the truth and ac­cused the Op­po­si­tion MP of at­tempt­ing to cre­ate a cri­sis where there was none.