A 45-year old male sex offender from Trinidad and Tobago was arrested in East Hampton, New York on July 29 by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Enforcement and Removal Operations. The arrested was convicted of the third degree rape of a victim reportedly incapable of consent and sentenced to five years of probation supervision. The arrest was part of a ten day enforcement effort dubbed Operation SOAR (Sex Offender Alien Removal.) Among the TT male arrested were 31 other sex offenders from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Mexico and Peru. The TT citizen will reportedly remain in ICE custody pending deportation.
In light of this, founder of Vision on Mission, Wayne Chance, told Newsday today the number of deportees being sent back to T&T has increased due to new immigration constraints. “The U.S. tops the list in terms of deportation back to Trinidad,” Chance said, “Through the years, the numbers remain relatively high from the U.S. and the U.K. and other places in Europe.”
Chance added that a lot of deportees end up on the streets. “We don’t have the financial resources to provide the special care that is needed for some deportees. As a result, a lot of them become socially displaced,” he said. He also said that society has to come to a place of maturity and must work in a “structural way” when dealing with deportees. “What our facility specialises in is localized reintegration. You can see a programme used in another country but how do you use it in your own society? One has to understand the dynamics of working with deportees.”
He said that there is a type of “upbringing and a way of culture” that deportees, ex-inmates and criminal offenders have experienced. “We have to understand the way they were cultured. Then, it’s important to breakdown, restructure and re-educate.” He added that dealing with deportees and criminal offenders is a “state responsibility.” He said society has “come a long way” in terms of dealing with deportees.
As a Non-Governmental Organisation, Chance said Vision on Mission is “doing a lot” with the “little” they have. Nevertheless, he believes everyone has a part to play in filtering them “back into society completely.”