The number of Jamaicans deported from the United States continue to decrease, with 1, 268 sent back last year, according to a published report.
The Jamaica Observer said on Saturday that 1,603 Jamaicans were deported from the U.S. in 2008 and 1,480 in 2009.
Clifford Chambers, the security attaché at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, also said that more than 300 Jamaicans have exhausted deportation proceedings and have been given final removal orders, while orders are pending against another 488, according to the Observer.
Geneive Brown-Metzger, Jamaica’s New York Consul General said the number of Jamaicans in custody in the U.S. is posing “a serious challenge for the Jamaican consulate,” adding that her office has been “forced to quadruple the number of visits to detention and other centres where these nationals are held.”
But Chambers told the Observer that those deported “have not committed what would be considered a serious crime,” rather, he said the majority were guilty of “overstaying their entry permits.”
He said some people have been deported for drug-related offences and, in a few cases, murder.
While U.S. authorities estimate that about 5,000 Jamaicans are living illegally in the U.S., Chambers said that the figure is difficult to confirm since persons who have entered the U.S. legally but for whom there are no records of departure would fall in that category.
In addition, he told the Observer that there are instances in which the official document, I-94, which would confirm departure from the country, may not have been processed.
Over the years, Caribbean leaders have blamed the spiraling crime wave on increased deportation of criminals, primarily from the United States.