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Saturday 15 December 2018
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Young: No refugee crisis

Some Venezuelans slipping through cracks

NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young says there are Venezuelans who being held for overstaying their time and some that were “slipping through the cracks.”

He was speaking as the Standing Finance Committee considered national security expenditure of the 2018/2019 national budget in Parliament yesterday.

Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie asked if there was a clear policy framework issues that guide immigration given the situation with Venezuela.

Young: “We don’t have our heads buried in the sand with respect to Venezuela. We are looking very closely at it.”

He said TT was in constant conversation with the Venezuelan authorities and a number of Venezuelans have been picked up for overstaying the 90-day time limit.

“We are trying to man it as far as possible. There are persons who slip through the cracks.”

He said as minister he has faced a number of files of people who have overstayed and he thanked the special unit of the Immigration Department that picks up illegal immigrants and process them and sometimes put in the Immigration Detention Centre.

“So it is a live issue that we are dealing with.”

Young said there were also people coming in illegally via unauthorised ports of entry and reported the ministry intended to place more resources in the Cedros area.

Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Christine Newallo asked about vacation position in immigration and Young reported out of 405 positions there was 121 vacant.

Naparima MP Rodney Charles said, with a refugee crisis, transborder movement of drugs and planes arriving and immigration officers not present, why was there a decrease in overtime of $2.5 million for officers.

Young said: “What this is, I’m hoping, is a reflection of a more efficient immigration service. And as you keep repeating there is a crisis with refugees; there is no current crisis with refugees. We do have a situation where there has been an increase in persons seeking refugee status and that is something we are currently addressing.”

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