110,000 illegal immigrants in Trinidad

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Trinidad Express) — Oil- and gas-rich Trinidad and Tobago remains a land of opportunity and currently serves as a haven for 110,012 illegal immigrants.
“You are talking about over 10 per cent of your adult population,” National Security Minister Gary Griffith said following the National Security Ministry’s release of the “alarming statistics” on Tuesday.
Asked if there had been an increase in the number of illegal immigrants in recent years, Griffith said the problem did not start overnight.
“It is just that I am opening this Pandora’s box. And I intend to put an end to it. It is totally unacceptable,” he said.
This disturbingly high number of illegal immigrants comes primarily from 16 countries, of which only six are members of Caricom.
The highest number of illegal immigrants comes from Guyana—25,884; followed by Jamaica.
There are 19,500 Jamaicans living here illegally, while Venezuela has 10,574 illegal immigrants residing here. Next in line are people from St Vincent—9,606; Barbadians—7,169; Grenadians—6,947; Colombians—6,388; Chinese—4,593; Filipinos—4,437; St Lucians—4,391; Indians—3,651; Dominican Republic—2,256; Surinamese—1,944; Cubans—1,434; Nigerians—1,071; and Bangladeshis—167.
Griffith said that he was not on a “witch hunt”.
But, he said he had met a very “untidy situation” and he intended to deal with all aspects of national security.
He said once Immigration officials are able to locate people, they are deported back to their country.
He said, though, many of the illegal immigrants “stay under the radar”, and sometimes information is brought to the Immigration Department which facilitates the location of these people.
However, he also noted many Trinidadians hire illegal immigrants “and they abuse the situation because they don’t pay (National Insurance), taxes, and sometimes pay them below the minimum wage”.
He said some of them worked in the security industry while some were employed in the sex industry.

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