Irresponsible statement by the Opposition on immigration and border security matters

The Minister of National Security, the Honourable Stuart R. Young, M.P., refutes and corrects the suggestion by the Opposition Member of Parliament for Tabaquite that Trinidad and Tobago’s borders are being left unmanned and that it is a “free for all” for illegal immigrants to cross our borders or that Immigration Officers are ignoring their duties and responsibilities to secure our borders.

As the facts will show, in the past few months, there has been an increase in the border security operations taking place and this has led to a reduction in the porous nature of our borders.

The Minister of National Security takes the opportunity to thank the men and women of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG), the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and the Immigration Division for their dedication and commitment to securing our borders.

The attempt by the Member of Parliament for Tabaquite to use a quote by the Acting Chief Immigration Officer in a Joint Select Committee hearing as she was describing the high number of persons being held at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) and the fact that there is limited room at this facility, as a declaration that Immigration would no longer uphold the law and would allow illegal immigrants into our borders, is a desperate attempt by the Opposition to create panic.

The TTCG, TTPS and Immigration will continue to protect our borders and to deal with the difficulties associated with illegal immigrants.

The Ministry of National Security is currently working on a policy to deal with Venezuelan Citizens who are in Trinidad and Tobago, some of whom are here illegally, by requiring them to register with the authorities, in the first instance. The policy will also provide for Venezuelans to work legally for a period of time. This process is expected to be approved and commenced shortly.

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The reality of the situation is that Trinidad and Tobago has seen an increase in the number of Venezuelans coming here and the Government is dealing with the situation. There is no crisis. Unfortunately, the UNC Opposition continues to wish crisis upon Trinidad and Tobago but we are thankful that there is no crisis.

The various bodies charged with the responsibility for border security have been discussing various inter-agency solutions for dealing with the numbers of persons being detained as illegal immigrants, including using and declaring for use, certain prison facilities not being used.

The Minister of National Security assures that border security is a priority and is being dealt with at a multi-agency level.

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