BY HAROLD BAILEY :
NEW YORK, USA — United States authorities deported a total of 1,336 Jamaicans last year, an increase of 68 over 2010 when 1,268 were sent home.
At the same time, 839 Jamaicans are currently in custody pending removal. Of this number, 326 have already had final removal orders issued against them, while the remaining 513 have similar orders pending.
Last year’s increase, though considered modest, bucked a trend which had seen a three-year reduction in the number of Jamaicans deported from the US.
According to Clifford Chambers, the security attaché at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, drug offences topped the list of reasons for the majority of Jamaicans being deported last year.
In an interview with the Observer here he said that robbery, sex offences, burglary, fraud, aggravated assault, murders, and illegal entry round out the list of other reasons in terms of priority.
Regarding the number of Jamaicans incarcerated in the US, Chambers said the figure stands at 1,200 at various Federal and State correctional and detention centres.
Chambers said that over 11,000 other Jamaicans are still recorded as being in the United States as undocumented aliens. But he emphasised that “there is no way of confirming the accuracy of this figure”, since it might well be that many of them may have already left the country or formalised their status.
He said that these are Jamaicans who were granted visitor’s visas, but for whom there are no records of them leaving the USA.
Chambers, however, expects this figure to decline following the relaxation of Prosecutorial Discretion rules by the Obama administration last year.
Under the relaxed rules, persons with minor offences who have served in the military, those with medical conditions, among other requirements, will likely not be deported, but Chambers made it clear that such determination would depend on each individual case.