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Harris says Immigration amnesty was a success

Just seven percent of the 200 people flagged by Immigration under its ongoing amnesty have taken advantage of the offer.

But despite the numbers, Immigration councilor Austin Harris says the amnesty made the desired impact in the community.
As the clock winds down on Immigration’s overstayers and work permit defaulters amnesty Mr. Harris said the effort was fruitful.

“But certainly, the government believes that the amnesty was a success and we are happy with the numbers.”

According to Immigration’s last amnesty update, 14 people, including three children, made use of the offer to exit Cayman without prosecution.

“I think the greatest impact in addressing these overstayers is removing those hindrances that would otherwise, we hope, create more opportunities for Caymanians,”Mr. Harris said.

At the start of the effort, Immigration officials said they wanted to nip criminal activities in the bud, activities they believed were being committed in part by illegal residents. Mr. Harris said that has happened in some measure.

“We believe that those who took advantage, as well as, those who will by prosecuted for overstaying by the enforcement unit. It will also have a positive impact, whilst small, positive none the less on crime.”

He said those who are breaching the law should come clean, as the amnesty offer is time sensitive.

“Those who failed to take advantage of the amnesty enforcement will continue.”

Mr. Harris said many of those who surrendered under the amnesty had to be deported at government’s expense as required by law.

The amnesty runs until 3 p.m. Friday (30 August.) Immigration said it will be ramping up its enforcement efforts when the amnesty expires.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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