AFRICANGLOBE – US President Donald Trump’s new rule on immigration and nationality, published on August 12, is no different from the rules applied by Caribbean countries. It seeks to prohibit people from migrating to the US if they would become a charge upon the State, and it denies qualification for permanent residence status of such persons who are in the US and who are reliant on Medicaid (government-provided health insurance), housing, food or other forms of public assistance.
Similarly, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries deny entry to foreigners, including nationals of other CARICOM countries, if immigration officers have reason to believe they could be a charge on the state’s resources.
The reason President Trump offers for this new rule matches that proffered by CARICOM governments. First, he wants immigrants to the country to be able to bring value, and second, he does not want US citizens to bear the cost of providing health, education and other aspects of social welfare to new arrivals. The new immigration rules will take effect from October 15.
Incidentally, while the implementation of the rule is new, it has actually been a provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act which, at Title 8 – Aliens and Nationality, Chapter 12- Immigration and Nationality, Subchapter 11 – Immigration, says in general: “Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.” More specifically, it states: “In determining whether an alien is inadmissible under this paragraph, the consular officer or the Attorney General shall at a minimum consider the alien’s (I) age; (II) health; (III) family status; (IV) assets, resources, and financial status; and (V) education and skills.”
Consequences will arise for Caribbean countries and others from President Trump’s decision to enforce this long dormant inadmissibility clause in the US Immigration and Nationality Act. For a hundred years, people from the Caribbean and Central America have sought and received entry to the US, qualifying for permanent residence and citizenship. The migration of such people has eased the pressure on Caribbean governments to provide direct employment and deliver goods and services to their citizens, as well as to create an environment for investment and economic growth and development.
Now, with the US being cut-off for migration from October 15, except for the highly skilled and better-off, the strain on Caribbean governments will intensify, particularly as the opportunity for emigration to countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada have long since been restricted. For instance, the UK introduced its immigration law, depriving Commonwealth Caribbean citizens (except, recently, nationals of its remaining colonies) since 1962.
At times of economic decline and natural disasters in the Caribbean, people have moved to the US mainland or its Caribbean territories, the US Virgin Islands in order to work and keep themselves and their families. Some have done so legally; others not. Now, they will be judged by the same criteria – possibility of becoming a charge upon the state; assets; financial status; education and skills.
Also affected will be women who travel to the US to deliver babies who, because of their birth on US soil, would become US citizens. In some cases, some of these women have utilised State resources for medical attention associated with the delivery of their child. They, too, will be subject to the tests that the new rule now implements.
In this connection, the flow of migrants from the Caribbean to the US will decrease to a trickle, exacerbating the difficult circumstances many Caribbean governments already confront in dealing with growing populations and insufficient economic space to provide employment and to deliver expected services.
President Trump’s decision, has come at a time when most Caribbean countries are severely challenged; many of them have high debts, the repayment of which leaves them little space for spending on social welfare. They also lack enough capital to invest in job-producing projects, and the rules of the international financial institutions and donor governments deny them access to concessional financing.
Guyana is the present exception to this generally valid description of CARICOM countries. Its significant oil and gas resources, scheduled for production in early 2020, if managed properly, could transform its economic fortunes. Bloomberg reckons: “This tiny nation on the north coast of South America is about to become the world’s newest petrostate — and potentially the richest.” Should substantial sums of the oil revenues flow into the Guyana government treasury, allowing spending on infrastructural and productive projects, not only will there be reverse migration by Guyanese, but opportunities could open for nationals of other CARICOM countries.
The Guyana possibility apart, President Trump’s new immigration rules should cause all Caribbean governments to consider how they cope with an increased population resulting from greatly restricted emigration. Many of the governments should review their immigration policies, adhering to a policy of employment for nationals first and limiting movement into their countries to needed skills and to financial resources that migrants bring. Even the present categories of workers that are allowed free movement within CARICOM should be reviewed considering current developments.
The proposal here is not a knee-jerk reaction. Rather, it is a response to a difficult situation that has been gathering steam for some time and which is fast coming to a head. CARICOM countries should collectively address the issue and determine how best they could jointly deal with it.
Believe it or not, most State Attorneys and State Prosecutors are Democrats. They are reluctant to prosecute police murders that kill Black men, women or children but you run to the polls to reelect them anyway. Too many of the people that disguise themselves as Democrats, in reality, are really Dixiecrats who, behind closed doors, vote to support, defend and finance devilish lawmen with your tax dollars that kill people like George Floyd.
AFRICANGLOBE - My heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, neighbors and all others that loved George Floyd who was recently murdered by law enforcement officers in Minnesota. Every day in America a Black man, woman or child becomes a victim of police brutality and misconduct!
AFRICANGLOBE - Being neither a scientist nor a physician, I can only rely on my common sense as to why Black communities have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. And no, I don’t think it’s because Kunta Kinte was forced to change his name to Toby, or the prevalence of underlying health conditions caused by poor lifestyle choices.
AFRICANGLOBE - I stopped going to rallies and protests because I know how most of today’s protests will turn out. First, the local people will pretty much be kicked to the curb and the modern day carpetbaggers will assume the leadership of the protest event.
AFRICANGLOBE - Don’t think the recent murder of a young Black man in South Georgia is an isolated incident. You have to be careful and cautious in every neighborhood you’re in. Today’s klansmen are embolden by the white nationalists in the White House, they are brave when they have numbers, they are courageous when they have weapons and they have little or no fear of a judge or jury giving them the death penalty for killing Black men, women and children!
AFRICANGLOBE - Sperm counts appear to be plummeting throughout the Western/white world, according to a large study of men around the world. An international team of scientists analyzed data from nearly 43,000 men in dozens of industrialized countries and found that sperm counts dropped by more than half over nearly four decades.
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