62 deportees to arrive from US during COVID-19 lockdown

62 deportees to arrive from US
Dr Horace Chang

The Ministry of National Security has put in place measures to facilitate the safe return and accommodation of approximately 62 Involuntary Returned Migrants (IRM) (Deportees) from the United States. The IRMs are expected to arrive in Jamaica on Tuesday, April 21.

The arrival of the IRMs is not a novel occurrence. It is one of the monthly returns scheduled to arrive in the country on March 26, 2020. However, the Government negotiated a further date to prepare for the IRMs’ arrival under measures imposed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In keeping with the Jamaican Constitution and the Jamaica Nationality Act, Jamaica is duty-bound to accept IRMs. The Government acknowledges the long-standing arrangement with the United States Department of Homeland Security for the repatriation of Jamaicans who do not have the legal right to remain in the United States.

Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang reassures that the Government is committed to ensuring respect for human rights and the elimination of discrimination under all circumstances. He added that “there will be controlled re-entry while observing COVID-19 prevention protocols.” The Government is dedicated to the safety of all Jamaicans and continues to make necessary adjustments to recent sanctions under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

Upon arrival, IRMs will be quarantined for two weeks in a secure Government facility, where they will be processed by the relevant authorities. The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) recently conducted sensitization sessions with staff at the facility; detailing potential health risks of COVID-19 and how to detect and report signs of the virus.

While under quarantine, IRMs will be screened twice daily by medical officers assigned by the MOHW. At the end of the quarantine period, IRMs who are cleared by health officials will be released to family members.

The Government understands the public’s concern regarding the repatriation of fellow Jamaicans to the country during this time. However, we continue to be guided by our health officials and security forces to uphold best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.