NEW YORK, USA – More than 20 Vincentians are to be deported from the United States because of immigration law violations and crime.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement at a town hall meeting in Brooklyn on Saturday where Vincentians immigration attorney Rasheda Smith said she was willing to partner with the SVG Consulate here to ensure that Vincentian citizens are not treated unjustly by the U.S. immigration system.
Gonsalves urged the gathering to obey the law and use their time in the United States to improve their lives.
“I am getting reports about a number of young men who are in jail from St. Vincent. Of course, we don’t have even proportionately the largest number. … I think there are 20-something at the moment who, they have informed us, are ready for deportation,” Gonsalves said.
He said the soon-to-be-deported Vincentians include “persons who didn’t have their stay properly regularised and who committed one offence or the other”.
“I want to urge the young people, everybody: you come to America to improve yourself … by working hard and honest and diligently,” Gonsalves said to applause.
“We improve ourselves by not breaking the law. Don’t allow greed to get the better of you that you want to thief things from people. Don’t allow yourself to get hooked in to the cocaine or the marijuana trade or any of these trades.
“They are not going to lead you anywhere. The people who are making the money off of those are in jacket and tie and living very well and are protected. That’s the story all over the world,” Gonsalves said to more applause.
“I want you to listen to your parents [and] to the older people in the community. We have to look out for one another. We have to try and see how we can take care of the young men, young women, too; but mainly young men. That’s the problem,” he further said.
“And, I am making an appeal: you come here, or you were brought here by your family to improve yourself. Go to school. There are lots of opportunities. Get a skill, work hard, improve yourself, build your family at home; build a decent life for yourself; get involved in meaningful things in the community – both the community in which you live and the community for your homeland and for the rest of the Caribbean,” Gonsalves further said.