Trinidad to step up deportations of migrants

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2014 12:21 PM

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — The government of Trinidad & Tobago says it plans to crack down on the estimated 110,000 migrants living in the twin-island nation illegally — even knocking on doors to track them down.

The migrants have until early January to get their documents in order before authorities launch a large deportation campaign next year that would include door-to-door visits, National Security Minister Gary Griffith said in remarks published Thursday by the Newsday newspaper.

Griffith said the steps are meant to help reduce crime.

He did not provide further details and did not return a message for comment.

Griffith said the government will unveil a plan in upcoming weeks to regularize the status of migrants.

"I am not turning a blind eye to the fact that over 10 percent of the adult population in this country are persons here illegally," he was quoted as saying. "That is unacceptable."

He also said that not all migrants living on the twin island illegally would be deported, and that the government would help those whose employers vouch for them.

Trinidad & Tobago has long attracted migrants because it is one of the most prosperous Caribbean countries thanks to natural gas and oil reserves that make it a major fuel supplier.

Griffith has previously said that the largest share of migrants, nearly 26,000, come from the nearby South American country of Guyana, followed by nearly 20,000 from Jamaica.