Arguing that deportees are entitled to their rights like any other citizen, Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey said that migrants sent back to Jamaica involuntarily would not be profiled by the police even if they had served time for serious crimes in other countries.
“We are mindful that some of them are criminals, and we are mindful that they might return to their life of criminality. If that does happen, then we have to do what we have to do within the framework of the law, but we can’t profile people,” he told The Gleaner moments after 17 deportees were processed at Harman Barracks after being flown in on a charter flight from Britain.
The deportees had been convicted of a wide range of crimes, including manslaughter, rape, violence, and firearm or drugs offences, and had served time in prison, the United Kingdom Home Office said.
“Persons have been deported from overseas for years. It is an ongoing process. Every year, persons are deported for various reasons. Not all the persons are criminals. Some of them may be immigration issues, overstaying, etc,” said the deputy commissioner of police.
“There was a time when there was an arrangement that certain deportees were actually identified by some form of device, but I guess there were some constitutional issues surrounding it, I think, if my memory serves me well,” he said.
Thousands of Jamaicans have been deported from the United States, Canada, and Britain over the years.
The 2018 Economic and Social Survey showed that overall, the main reasons for deportation were overstaying, illegal entry and re-entry, and possession of drugs. Males involuntarily sent home were mainly in the 25–50 age group while females were primarily aged 21–35.
Bailey said that there was no evidence to suggest that deportees committed more crimes when sent to Jamaica compared to other citizens.
“We go by data. Does the data suggest that deportees are committing more crime than ordinary Jamaicans?” he asked.
He emphasised that although deportees were processed upon arrival, that information, such as their intended residence, collected would not be used for surveillance.
“They have served their time in the respective countries, and they are citizens of this country, so they have to be given the right like every other citizen. We can’t have any special type of monitoring,” Bailey said.