GEORGETOWN, Guyana – As United States immigration policy continues to cause major concern in the Caribbean, leader of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will this week examine its implications for the region before it attempts to engage the Donald Trump administration.
The discussions will be held at the 28th inter-sessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on February 16-17 in Georgetown.
At a press conference at the CARICOM Secretariat here on Monday, Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, said international relations will be discussed at the meeting.
“Emerging issues on that front necessitate that the heads of government strategise how the interest of the community could be best served” LaRocque said.
When asked if one of the international issue will be the US immigration policy which has gripped international attention recently, the Secretary-General responded in the affirmative.
He pointed out that that this will fall within discussions which focus on the region’s relations with its international partners.
LaRocque said that the discussion will centre on how the region, through CARICOM, can engage or advance issues that are of critical interest to it.
The Secretary- General noted that the regional block will be exploring ways to sensitise and engage the new US administration. “
Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, said recently that Caribbean countries can expect to have an influx of undocumented immigrants based on President Trump’s immigration policy.
He said that the only way this could be prevented is by these countries refusing to take them.
However, he pointed out that the consequence of that action is that the US will not grant visas of any kind to the nationals of the refusing countries, while there may be other sanctions.
To deal with this issue, Sanders suggested that CARICOM countries consider the “immediate establishment” of national committees at senior levels to plan for an influx of undocumented immigrants from the US.
He said the majority of these immigrants will be unskilled labourers and many will be below the age of 40. Failure to plan, he added, could result in a sudden increase in the population of each country, driving up unemployment and crime and straining their health facilities.
Additionally, he noted that areas of concern could include their capacity for delivering water and the capability of their courts, prisons and police.
“Individually and collectively, Caribbean governments have to engage the Trump Administration and the US Congress to discuss these worrying developments that have implications for the region, but also for the US” the diplomat said.