Another batch of Cuban migrants has arrived on our shores over the weekend. 21 Cubans were spotted off the coast of Cayman Brac on Sunday (April 24). The group made up of 12 men and 9 women was taken to Grand Cayman after their make shift boat began having engine troubles. The group has been transported to the Immigration Detention Centre. There are now more than 70 migrants being housed at the IDC.
International law prohibits the Cayman Islands from facilitating illegal migration. This extends to members of the public assisting migrants, on land or in local waters, with food, shelter, transportation, or other forms of comfort.
Although persons who arrive in such a manner are detained pending a repatriation process, the Cayman Islands Government is responsible for ensuring that they are able to access resources necessary for health and well-being while in custody. This includes food, clothes and medical treatment.
The Immigration Department notes that the restriction on assistance is in part due to the dangerous and potentially fatal journey which such individuals face. Local laws criminalize acts by any persons who assist or facilitate illegal transportation, harbouring or the movement of migrants, whether or not for financial gain. These acts attract a fine of CI$50,000 and seven years imprisonment.