Stating that a greater problem besides race is on the horizon for which they many not be able to escape so easy, former West Indies wicket keeper and manager Vincentian T. Michael Findlay has warned Caribbean nationals in the United States to brace themselves for what he describes as a “worst-case scenario” on immigration.
“That problem may now be directed more at immigrants from across the border, but it may very well trickle down to people from the Caribbean,” the former journalist told patrons at the recent 40th anniversary celebration of the Brooklyn-based Vincentian sports club, Hairoun, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center on Logan Street in East New York, Brooklyn.
“Is there going to come a time when you will have to go into hiding to prevent deportation? I sincerely hope not,” the Vincentian sports ambassador added. “But be on your p’s and q’s, because that problem has already arrived in the United Kingdom under what is being called “Windrush”, after the name of the ship that took the early West Indian immigrants to Britain from as early as 1948.”
In quoting an article in Britain’s Independent newspaper earlier this year, Findlay said: “’Commonwealth citizens who have lived in Britain for decades, after arriving as children, are being made destitute and stateless due to the government’s hostile environment policies, politicians and diplomats are warning.
“‘It has emerged in recent months that Caribbean nationals who came to Britain between 1948 and 1973 with the Windrush generation are being denied access to National Health Service healthcare, losing their jobs and even being threatened with deportation,’” he added.
Findlay said that while the Trump administration’s new policy on immigration in the United States is at the moment directed at Mexicans who cross the border illegally, “the worrying question for other immigrants is: ‘Will it be directed at them if and when the border problem is under control?’”
He noted that, in June, a proposed rule was being finalized that he said could have “far-reaching effects on legal immigration to the United States, and lead to a sharp drop in the use of public benefits by legal non-citizens and their dependents.”
“The policy, outlined in drafts, leaked in January and March this year, could make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain a green card or extend a temporary visa if they or their dependents, including children born to US-citizen, use any of an expanded range of cash or non-cash public benefits or tax credits for which they are eligible,” Findlay said.
He said the Trump administration may also be contemplating to change the standard for which receipt of public benefits can be used as grounds for the deportation of foreigners living in the US legally but who are not citizens.
In addition, Findlay said the proposed rule could also significantly reshape future legal immigration flows, “because it could give the administration broad discretionary powers to deny a much larger share of applications from prospective immigrants, as well as those already present who are seeking a green card.”
Specifically, under the proposals, Findlay said it would become more difficult for children, the elderly, persons with lower levels of education and/or limited English proficiency, and those with incomes under 250 percent of the US federal poverty level, to enter and remain in the United States.
As a result, he said the Trump administration could “significantly shift the US legal immigration system away from family-based immigration without the involvement of Congress.
“It could be that the new immigration policy may not directly affect West Indians who are living and working in the United States legally,” Findlay said. “But it is very important that you are aware of the possibilities that are on the horizon, and that you brace yourselves for a worst-case scenario.
“This means that you must also alert your families and friends at home about the new possibilities, and encourage them to be more thrifty, and responsible, in utilizing whatever is sent home to them,” he urged.
“You, therefore, must be strong and be prepared to lobby your congressman or congresswoman, so that this new immigration policy is not approved,” Findlay added. “Because, if it is, you could be impacted as if hit by the destructive power of a category 5 Hurricane.
“Also, be frank and honest with your people at home, and get them to understand that it is not always possible to ‘send this and send that,’” the sports ambassador continued.