Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08BRIDGETOWN701
2008-12-02 20:21:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bridgetown
Cable title:  

EASTERN CARIBBEAN DRAGGING FEET ON DEPORTEE

Tags:  KJUS KCRM CVIS PREL XL 
pdf how-to read a cable
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RUCNCOMEC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 000701 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2018
TAGS: KJUS KCRM CVIS PREL XL
SUBJECT: EASTERN CARIBBEAN DRAGGING FEET ON DEPORTEE
RETURNS: HICCUP OR TREND?

Classified By: Ambassador Mary M. Ourisman, reasons 1.4 (b,d)

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SUMMARY
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C O N F I D E N T I A L BRIDGETOWN 000701

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2018
TAGS: KJUS KCRM CVIS PREL XL
SUBJECT: EASTERN CARIBBEAN DRAGGING FEET ON DEPORTEE
RETURNS: HICCUP OR TREND?

Classified By: Ambassador Mary M. Ourisman, reasons 1.4 (b,d)

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SUMMARY
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1. (c) In recent weeks, we have become aware of a string of
cases in which prospective deportees from Eastern Caribbean
(EC) countries have been unable to return to their country of
citizenship because of delays from their U.S.-based
consulates in processing required travel documents. As a
result of these delays, some deportees have been released in
the U.S. What at first appeared to be isolated cases of
bureaucratic inefficiency at EC Missions in the U.S.
responsible for providing travel documents for deportees to
be returned is beginning to look more like deliberate
stalling tactics by some of these missions testing a
potential loophole in U.S. laws requiring deportees to be
removed within 180 days of confinement or released. If the
trend continues and deportation is slowed in the process, we
could see a sharp increase in Caribbean deportees being
released in the U.S., which could quickly become an irritant
in our bilateral relationships. End summary.

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TRIAL BALLOONS
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2. (c) Grumbling about the USG's policy on criminal
deportees is nothing new. Senior officials in virtually
every country in the region have complained publicly and
privately about returning criminal deportees since the policy
was launched in the mid-1990's. The recent U.S. elections
launched a new volley of complaints from the region, which
has rekindled hopes for a review of U.S. deportation policy.
Recently, however, our A/RSO was asked by a senior contact in
Vincentian law enforcement what the USG response would be if,
hypothetically, Caribbean governments stopped accepting
deportees back into their countries of citizenship. Within a
few weeks of this "hypothetical" query, we saw an instance of
a Dominican deportee being unable to secure necessary travel
documents from his consulate in New York to provide entry
back into Dominica. A few weeks later, there was another
case involving St. Lucia, and we are now hearing that there
are three additional cases, one each from Dominica, St.
Kitts, and St. Vincent. In all of these cases, there have
been a series of "problems" with the documentation provided
by USG law enforcement and the deportees to prove their
citizenship.


3. (c) It is not uncommon for the bureaucratic paper trail
to take some time to complete in the Eastern Caribbean, due
to inflexible civil service procedures, a lack of consistency
from one official to the next, and simple inefficiency. In
recent cases, though, these slowdowns have started to appear
deliberate. In one case, a notarized copy of a birth
certificate for a deportee was returned to USG law
enforcement and an original requested. When this was
provided, it was sent back to the country of origin for
"authentication" by another ministry -- a process that has
taken several months.

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IMPLICATIONS
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4. (c) According to DHS/ICE, there are over 1300 Eastern
Caribbean citizens in the deportee pipeline, including some
377 criminal deportees and many with "simple" overstays.
Absent the ability to repatriate them in a timely manner, ICE
is required to release them back into the general U.S.
population. If, in fact, the recent cases represent a
willful attempt by EC governments to dodge their national
responsibility to take back their deported citizens, it would
represent not only a breach of their international
obligations, but also a serious irritant in our relationship
on an issue that is sensitive to both sides. We have begun
to engage regional leaders, urging them to meet their
international obligations to accept deported nationals and to
minimize such delays, in order to ensure that this mini-trend
does not gain momentum. We have also cautioned that

continued delays could generate negative reactions on Capitol
Hill, where interest in immigration issues runs high.

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COMMENT
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5. (c) The broader point that is often lost in the region's
obsessive focus on deportation and its alleged - though never
proven - impact on local crime levels, is that deportation is
an unfortunate by-product of our open immigration system and
our openness to visitors from the region. Countries in the
region desperately want to ensure continued open access to
immigration and visits to the U.S. But they will need to
understand that such access is only possible if all sides
respect international commitments and facilitate the return
of nationals who break the law - just as they do within their
borders.
HARDT