US, Jamaica sign immigration memo

U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Luis G. Moreno.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Jamaica’s Ministry of National Security of Jamaica to enhance their ability to share records containing immigration and criminal histories of Jamaican nationals being repatriated from the United States.

U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Luis G. Moreno and Peter Murcott Bunting, minister of Jamaica’s Ministry of National Security, participated in the signing ceremony at the Jamaica Ministry of National Security’s headquarters.

ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Assistant Director Matthew Albence and Minister Bunting signed the Criminal History Information Sharing (CHIS) memorandum. ICE’s Jamaica Attaché James Stitzel also attended the signing ceremony, ICE said.

“CHIS enhances the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Jamaica and represents a milestone in our law enforcement partnership,” said Moreno, also thanking Stitzel for his tireless work in Jamaica and his efforts with the CHIS agreement.

“The signing of the CHIS agreement signals increased levels of trust and cooperation between our two governments,” Bunting said.

“This memorandum of cooperation further enhances our already strong bilateral relationship with the government of Jamaica,” Albence said. “We look forward to continuing to build our information-sharing capabilities to protect the people of Jamaica and the United States.”

The CHIS initiative is managed by ERO. Through the initiative, ERO provides its partners with criminal conviction information on foreign nationals being removed from the United States, and it receives information about foreign criminal convictions related to those individuals.

ICE said these records help ERO identify and classify individuals within the agency’s criminal removal priorities in support of national security.

ICE has similar agreements with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

Through its International Operations, ICE said its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has 62 operational attaché offices in 46 countries around the world.

ICE said HSI special agents work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies through a robust network of specialized, vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units.

Additionally, ICE said HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. Both HSI and ERO personnel work on issues of mutual interest with host governments.

ERO is responsible for coordinating the removal of criminals, foreign fugitives and others ordered deported, ICE said.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, ICE said ERO assistant attaches for repatriation have assisted with the removal of more than 1,200 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder.

In fiscal year 2014 alone, ICE said ERO removed 315,943 individuals from the United States. More than 85 percent had been convicted of a crime, ICE.

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