STOP harassing Chinese!

PM puts Immigration chief under heavy manners
… meanwhile, illegal Nigerian and Caricom aliens running wild in T&T

By AZAD ALI Chief Reporter,
September 15, 2006

PRIME MINISTER Patrick Manning has called on Chief Immigration Officer Herman Browne to stop the harassment of Chinese immigrants in this country.

Two weeks ago Manning summoned Browne and his deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Keith Collins to a high-level meeting at his Whitehall Office, Port of Spain to discuss the plight of Chinese, who are being hounded down by the Immigration Department.

Manning reportedly told the two senior officers that he had been receiving reports of Immigration Officers targeting Chinese nationals, a number of whom have applications for residential status pending at the Ministry of National Security and those seeking extensions of stay.

The PM pointed to instances where Chinese nationals were picked up by the Immigration Department on the grounds that they were illegally in T&T, even while they were awaiting decisions by the Ministry of National Security for their status to be regularised.

All these Chinese had entered the country legally, it was learnt.

Reliable sources told TnT Mirror that while Immigration Officers have focussed more on checking Chinese business places for illegal immigrants, there are hundreds of illegal Caricom nationals and Nigerians in T&T.

Manning pointed out to Browne that the Chinese are contributing to the economy and are even providing jobs for nationals.

He said they are not dependent on the government and are not involved in any illegal activities.

Sources say that since Browne took over as Chief Immigration Officer, his department has singled out Chinese for investigations into their status in the country.

However, Browne reportedly explained to the prime minister that he was only following the law to deal with illegal immigrants and denied that the Chinese had been targeted.

A source told Mirror Browne seemed surprised and shocked at the way he was put under heavy manners by the PM.

Sources in the National Security Ministry said line minister Martin Joseph is also concerned about the harassment of Chinese nationals by the Immigration Department.

Over the past two years, Chinese fast-food restaurants have been springing up in nearly every corner across T&T.

The Debe/Penal area in South Trinidad has been described as “Chinatown”, with scores of Chinese fast-food outlets in the area.

There are hundreds of other Chinese fast-food outlets along the East-West Corridor up to Sangre Grande and throughout Central Trinidad.

Mirror was told that the local “Chinese Connection” brings in nationals from China and sets them up in business.

They have to work and pay back the investment to the Chinese Connection in South and Port of Spain.

However, they are seen as making a contribution to the economy and are not a liability to the State.

This year the Chinese community will celebrate their 200 bi-centennial.

The government has declared October 12 a public holiday to mark the occasion.

2 Responses to “STOP harassing Chinese!”

  • Dr. Patricia Cedeno-Zamor

    I applaud Prime Minister Manning’s stance that the T& T naturalization officers should stop their pursuing Chinese/Asian immigrants, some who are awaiting notice of their application for residency.

    It is not that I condone illegal immigration; however the article explains, none of the Asians in question have sought or are likely to seek support from our government.

    Let us not return to the days when T & T ridiculed and persecuted CARICOM nationals. As a child I never undersood what this really meant.
    I came to understand what an immigrant meant when I went to the U.S. in the late 60’s.

    The negative impact of immigration remained with me into my adult years. This is an area of my research. I trust that the Prime Minister and the naturalization office will exercise caution and use commonsense in dealing with this situation.

  • Lets do some reasoning here. I really do not think that the immigration officers are intentionally pursuing chinese and Asiaans and ignoring Africans. We all know that its very easy for an African to fit in with the local Afro-trinbagonians, therefore making it difficult for them to be detected by the officers. These immigration officers would have to investigate every person of African descent in Trinbago in order to catch an illegal immigrant from Africa. However, the Asian people stick out like a sore thumb and the immigration officers find it a much less difficult task to go after them, just because they know that they would not have to interrogate too many before finding one illegal immigrant. In other words, if you were to approach a handful of Afro-Trinidadians and a handful of Asians, which handful would the immigration officers more likely to find illegals? Think about it!!!!!!

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