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Enforcing the Rules

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans

Published 1st August 2011, 11:26am

An overview of the Immigration Enforcement Section's past business year (July 1st 2010 to June 30th 2011) confirms that law breakers experienced a constant flow of arrests, fines and prosecutions.

Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Enforcement, Gary Wong, reports that 198 arrests were made during the period, up from 108 the previous year. The arrests covered 14 types of offences, including overstaying (103 persons) and illegal landing (7 persons).

The increase in infringements occurred even though the year kicked off with an immigration amnesty in July 2010 that saw 87 persons (67 males and 20 females) voluntarily depart from Cayman. One individual had overstayed by more than 12 years.

While employees are the usual offenders, Mr. Wong says employers are not exempt from enforcement measures. As such, 50 employers were charged for immigration offences while others were warned in relation to this offence.

Also, 15 persons were charged with employing foreign nationals without permits, while four were arrested for causing an individual to overstay.

Some people faced multiple charges, and the most common offences were working without a permit or outside the terms of a permit, making false representations and obstruction.

A breakdown of nationalities shows that more than half of the offenders (107) were Jamaican, while other top-offending countries were Honduras, Canada, the Cayman Islands, the Philippines, Cuba and the United States.

The enforcement option of administering administrative fines resulted in the majority of persons choosing the option to pay monetary penalties rather than go to court. That measure saw the Enforcement Unit collect more than $175,000, a little below the $182,000 of the previous year.

Offences such as illegal landing saw all person's involved prosecuted in court. Boats and other items used for committing such immigration offences were ordered forfeited to the crown.

The area of illegal migration also resulted in 40 Cuban migrants being intercepted between July 2010 and June 2011. That was the largest number since 2008, when 207 persons were recorded.

"We are continuously working with other agencies to control the criminal element by targeting and prosecuting those who land illegally, or attempt to do so", said Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans.

Ms. Evans noted that four Jamaican nationals had been intercepted off North Side in mid-May, during a joint special operation. The operation included contingents from the Royal Cayman Islands Police, HM Customs and Immigration Enforcement Section.

The four persons were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment to terms between six and fifteen months for illegal landing and attempted human smuggling. A 32-foot canoe was seized and forfeited to the crown as a result of the operation.

Congratulating the enforcement team members for their diligence, Ms. Evans said, "These officers work under difficult circumstances, and are dedicated and committed to ensuring that breaches of our immigration laws are detected and prosecuted."

For more information, applicants and businesses may seek legal counsel, or contact the Enforcement Unit at legalim@gov.ky or call 534 2546. Or, contact the Department of Immigration on 949-8344, or online at www.immigration@gov.ky.

(GIS)