Two Groups of Illegal Immigrants on St. John Face Different Futures

Two groups of illegal immigrants – there were 11 in each set – have been rounded up on St. John by National Park Rangers and by agents of Customs and Border Protection, according to a press release from CBP dated April 5.

The Rangers found a grouping of Cubans (six men, four women and a little girl) at the Morovian Church in Coral Bay on an unstated day.

On March 28, the Rangers, the CBP agents and the USVI police picked up another group, including five Haitians and “6 Indian,” to quote the release. Presumably the latter were from India.

The government’s press release (cited below) was not forthcoming on two aspects of these cases:

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1. Why was there the mix of people from Haiti and from India? That is an odd combination, as migrants tend to travel only with others of their own country. As an old hand on immigration matters it sounds to me that the Indians were seeking to enter the U.S. in a new way, via Haiti. It is much easier for an Indian to get a visa to Haiti than it is to get one to the U.S.

2. The two sets of migrants will be treated very differently by our government. Because of the long-outdated Cuban Adjustment Act, the Cubans will be – after some benign court proceedings – put on the road to legal status in the U.S. as permanent resident aliens. The Haitians and the Indians are in a different legal status, and will, probably, be sent back to their homelands.

The two groups presumably arrived on different boats and, in all probability, the smugglers managed to drop their passengers and get away safely. Had they been caught the CPB pressies would certainly have announced the capture.


David North is a former official of the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, now with the Washington think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies.

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