Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, has revealed that some 20,000 Jamaicans has been deported from the United States to Jamaica over the past 10 years.
Jamaica has also received the highest share of individuals deported from the US on criminal grounds, with those convicted of criminal offences accounting for 90 percent of Jamaicans deported, the ambassador said.
“Nearly 90 percent of Jamaicans returned from all countries, namely the United Kingdom and Canada, during this period were deported for reasons unrelated with violent crimes, the most common offence's being immigration and drug related offenses,” Ambassador Marks said.
Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural Jamaica Diaspora Northeast Trailblazer Awards at the Rosedale Village ballroom in Queens, NY, on Saturday, Ambassador Marks said it is now time for us to bring the full force of the talent and resources of the Diaspora to this problem.
“We must stop the deportation of young members of the diaspora that have spent most of their lives right here and currently are more American than Jamaican,” she said.
The ambassador called on Diaspora organizations throughout the United States to unite as mentors and protect marginalized immigrant youths from being recruited into criminal activities.
The ambassador commended the creation of the Diaspora Crime Prevention Task Force, but pointed out that the task force does not need to make another fact-finding trip to Jamaica “as the problem starts here and your talents are right here and if organized into an intervention force in Jamaican communities throughout the US, you can put a dent in exporting the crime problem back to Jamaica.”
“We need to, firstly, ensure that every eligible Jamaican green card holder become a citizen,” the ambassador said, “because I am seeing too many cases of young men who came here at basic and primary school age and are now being deported back to Jamaica when they are at college age with no opportunities for a second chance in Jamaica.”