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Whose criminals are they?
November 17, 2003 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Whose criminals are they? Canada and the U.S. are deporting immigrant criminals back to the Caribbean -- criminals who were born there but, in many cases, raised in North America. Whose problem are they? Virtually every Caribbean country feels the burden of the deportations, especially from the U.S., which, in 1998, deported 55,500 "aliens" on criminal grounds, 3,700 to the Caribbean. Defenders of the deportations say Canada and the U.S. are just getting rid of bad apples, many of whom shouldn't be here in the first place. But The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says that, frequently, the deportees have little more than place of birth to connect them to the region. In most cases these deportees have no money, little education, few relatives or friends to whom they can turn, and many are truly violent and lawless. The culture of drugs and guns that many carry back to their native lands is wreaking havoc in nations that receive them in substantial numbers.
posted by orange swan (32 comments total)

 
Are they citizens or not citizens of those count4ries sending them back? If not, then what is wrong with deportation?
posted by Postroad at 6:06 PM on November 17, 2003


I guess the Carribean-native parents who first smuggled them illegally into this country, and then raised them in this "culture of drugs and guns" bear no responsibility whatsoever.

Whats the last Jamaican movie to include a super-violent drugged-out "American gang" anyway? I think they're missing a significant opportunity. Wait...
posted by techgnollogic at 6:15 PM on November 17, 2003


From the first link: [Canada is] "where Reggie never bothered to apply for citizenship even though it almost certainly would have been granted." Oops.
posted by dobbs at 6:17 PM on November 17, 2003


It sucks, but when you're a foreigner in someone else's land, you're there at their sufferance and can be kicked out and sent "home" for good, bad, or no reason.

Moral 1 of the story: always apply for citizenship in a country you plan to live in for a while, at least if you don't have to give up your primary citizenship to take it.

Moral 2 of the story: If you don't like it, either do work to get long-term permanent residents to take citizenship, or give money to people who will.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 PM on November 17, 2003


I just read the first link (it's lengthy). Well written article. Thanks OS.
posted by dobbs at 6:38 PM on November 17, 2003


A similar story in the NY Times about Cambodian-Americans being deported back to Cambodia.
posted by gyc at 6:43 PM on November 17, 2003


So the central thesis is the United States should keep these alien criminals because the criminals like it here more than in their native, poor countries.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:45 PM on November 17, 2003


These deportees had legal status, but they weren't citizens.

I don't expect anyone to have much sympathy for criminals who were deported - no one does. Their adopted countries did have good reasons for deporting them. In the first linked article it mentions how one man who was scheduled for deportation killed a policman named Todd Baylis - that happened directly across the road from my apartment complex. Even the people in their native land don't have sympathy for them because they see them as having blown a golden opportunity.

I saw this as a social problem, and not one that would necessarily be contained within the borders of the deportees' native lands. Poor countries don't have the resources that would help integrate criminal deportees into the population of their countries - jobs, social programs, adequate law enforcement. Then the whole population suffers, and then the countries have to turn to the wealthier countries for help.
posted by orange swan at 6:47 PM on November 17, 2003


Technollogic, no, the central thesis is that many of these people became criminals in Canada and the United States and rather than those countries dealing with the problem, they're deporting them. There are no easy answers to the questions the article asks.

Small world, Orange Swan; I just live a couple blocks from you, if you're still down near that corner.
posted by dobbs at 7:13 PM on November 17, 2003


i'm sure this is Haiti's biggest problem.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:37 PM on November 17, 2003


The issues raised by this article are so complex I can't begin to formulate decent comments on them. Arghh.

I DO still live here, dobbs, wow. Email me sometime.
posted by orange swan at 7:45 PM on November 17, 2003


Sure, there's an easy answer dobbs.

You break the law, you are to answer for it in the country of your citizenship.

Very clear, that is. I don't care if you're caught for stealing candy bars. You break the law, you aren't a citizen, you're deported. Simple and easy.

Don't want to worry about it? Don't break the law until you are a citizen. It really isn't hard at all, especially if you've lived more than a few years in Canada already.

Ottawa was also where Reggie began dealing drugs and where authorities, in 1998, after his second arrest for dealing crack, said enough is enough and deported him back to Haiti.

Oh please. I would have sent him back the first time. He did it a second time? Get that idiot the hell outta here.

Often in shackles, always in shame.

Good. You should be shamed if you commit a crime carrying a jail sentence twice. You deserve it all.

For deportees sent back -- and since 1993, Canada has deported 124 Haitians -- it's worse: purgatory, without redemption... ..."Here people get killed like nothing. Especially at nighttime, you can get shot by mistake."

You'd think if it's that bad you'd work hella hard not to get deported. Like getting some citizenship and not commiting crimes, you know.

While some detainees are released when a relative comes forward and promises to care for them, Michelle Karshan says, others have been told by Haitian police that their parents in the United States have to pay a bribe of as much as $30,000 (U.S.) if they want their children released.

That's the penalty for beating the shit out of your kids (check the article). Too bad it isn't more (should be their entire house & car). You don't come to a civilized country, do that, and expect your kids to turn out well.

Since the early 1990s, Haiti has received more Canadian aid than any other country except Bangladesh -- about $250 million worth in total.

That's a sad waste of my money. I wonder how much of my moving ticket is going towards that? No wonder taxes are so high.
posted by shepd at 7:54 PM on November 17, 2003


Simple solution, Carib. Throw 'em in prison and then put them to work. These countries should be thanking US for sending them these cheap laborers.
posted by mischief at 8:08 PM on November 17, 2003


rather than those countries dealing with the problem, they're deporting them

How exactly is that not dealing with the problem? The problem is that people who are in your country illegally are committing crimes. Kicking them out of your country greatly reduces the likelihood that they will commit crimes in your country again. I'd say that is a fine way of dealing with the problem.
posted by kindall at 8:19 PM on November 17, 2003


mischief: You might not realize how big a point you've raised. The United States has a huge number of federal and State prisoners. The vast majority of these are minimum or medium security.

So why aren't they out planting trees, restoring damaged habitat, doing all sorts of labor intensive cost prohibitive work? Just give them tents, a mess tent/first aid clinic, and give their guards shotguns. Oh, and the materials to do the work with. 50 prisoners could turn five square miles of wasteland into a national or State asset.

And, here's a real zinger, why aren't they doing it on indian reservations? Actively helping some of the poorest people in the US, building infrastructure, raising and releasing wild and endangered animals, improving watersheds, the list is very long.

It costs less then prisons. Most prisoners would prefer doing *something* constructive and in the out-of-doors. Everyone benefits. So why not?
posted by kablam at 8:26 PM on November 17, 2003


So why aren't they out planting trees, restoring damaged habitat, doing all sorts of labor intensive cost prohibitive work?

Because it's seen as demeaning, and that's the state of things in this country where god forbid we do something shameful to someone who's serving time.

And as for the main issue in this thread. Personally I don't care if they've committed a crime. If they're in the country illegally, send them back. If they committed a crime, definitely send them back.
posted by piper28 at 8:38 PM on November 17, 2003


Criminals, that once they get kicked out of the country, complain about being afraid of the local crime, do not endear themselves to my heart at all.

If you get Canadian Citizenship then we'll treat you like a citizen. If you want to live in Canada, but stay a citizen of another country, then you're going to have to go live there when you start causing trouble for Canadians.

Also, the suggestion that drug enforcement in Ottawa is racist, is frankly daft. Low class dealers may get caught more easily because they stand out in the open where people can see them, but I know officers on that force and there is not a whole lot of racism going on there.
posted by tiamat at 8:38 PM on November 17, 2003


piper28: You break the law, you are to answer for it in the country of your citizenship.
&
kindall: The problem is that people who are in your country illegally are committing crimes.

Did either of you read the article? Where did it say they were in the country illegally?

You break the law, you are to answer for it in the country of your citizenship.

As usual, ShepD, your argument is short sighted. There are more sides to the story than just yours and the criminal's. What about the people in Haiti who now have to put up with a criminal that they had no part in creating? How is it their responsibility?

Suppose a 10-year old Canadian moves to Haiti (or anywhere, for that matter) and for whatever reason becomes a violent offender when he's 25 or whatever. He's shipped back to Canada, lands on your street, and starts to raise havoc. Is it your community's fault that this person is the way they are? Is it your tax dollars that should go to "rehabilitating" him? Sure, it may not be as big an issue for the Canadian authorities to deal with, but the point of the article is that it is a HUGE deal for the people in these countries, with a fraction of Canada's resources, to handle.

I'm not saying I sympathize with the criminals, but the problem isn't at all as cut and dried as you like to think.
posted by dobbs at 9:17 PM on November 17, 2003


Oops, grabbed the wrong part of Piper28's post. Shoulda been: If they're in the country illegally...
posted by dobbs at 9:19 PM on November 17, 2003


If they're in the country legally, that's even worse! If you bite the hand that feeds you, don't be surprised if it smacks you.
posted by kindall at 10:29 PM on November 17, 2003


If you bite that hand that feeds you, don't be surprised if it smacks both you and your estranged mother.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:24 AM on November 18, 2003


kindall, why are you ignoring the issue of the countries who cannot handle the criminals? The second link now requires registration (it didn't earlier) so I can't get the exact quote but I believe it said that in at least one instance, the USA had deported more criminals than twice the country's entire prison population. It also said that these criminals were commiting crimes that are "native" to the American soil on which they were raised (drive by shootings, homocides, drug running)--crimes that were nearly nonexistent prior to the changes in deportation law. How are these countries even remotely responsible for these criminals, many who hadn't set foot in their "home" country since before they were 10 years old?

I don't see how anyone can read either article and think the issue is bleeding hearts for the criminals.
posted by dobbs at 1:51 AM on November 18, 2003


Dobbs is right - as I said above, I saw this as a social problem for the countries to which these criminals are deported, and that is the angle the articles took as well. My concern is the culture of violence these criminals will create (yes, I know these countries already had violence but doubling a country's criminal population makes it dramatically worse).

You can say that these criminals ruined their own lives and wasted their opportunities and that is true. But it isn't only their own lives that get affected by their actions. If countries are being overwhelmed by an influx of criminals they can't cope with, that's a problem. I'm not necessarily claiming that Canada and the U.S. has complete responsibility for criminal immigrants, but I am saying that we should be aware of the problem we have had a hand in creating and be prepared to work with the criminals' native countries in order to lessen the strain on them. I just feel that if we ignore these issues and take a "not in my backyard" stance, it's going to bite us in the ass later on. Violence and poverty are not good for a country's culture, and since no culture is an island it will have fall out for the rest of the world.
posted by orange swan at 5:10 AM on November 18, 2003


Well, deport them to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, then. Problem solved.
posted by rushmc at 6:55 AM on November 18, 2003


This is a tough issue with no clear answers. It's the sort of thing, I think, that would have to be decided on an individual basis. Look at each offender and make a decision based on their actual ties to their host country v. home country. It sounds like Canada is trying to do that, but not quite successfully, while the US is drawing their line strictly on citizenship grounds.

And although it's a sad, sad story, I'm not sure that the home country's ability to deal with these criminals needs to be a factor. If a fair process based on reasonable criteria determines that these people have no significant ties to their host country, then they should be sent back. Support might be provided to help those home countries deal with their own criminal problems (and the article makes it quite clear that Canada makes an effort in this area), but if it is, in fact, their own problem, it needs to be dealt with there.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:39 AM on November 18, 2003


>As usual, ShepD, your argument is short sighted. There are more sides to the story than just yours and the criminal's. What about the people in Haiti who now have to put up with a criminal that they had no part in creating? How is it their responsibility?

It's their responsibility because they should have never sent this person to Canada to be trained as a criminal.

End of story. You reap what you sow. You sow some bad apples in this country, expect to handle returns. If you can't and your civilization breaks down, tough breaks. That's life, and that's what happens when you let your government pay fast and loose with emmigration. Don't let them out the border if you can't handle them coming back. Simple as that.

Is that long sighted enough for you? As usual, I have a rebuttal... (one would think a Mefier who knows so much about me would know that!)

>Is it your community's fault that this person is the way they are?

Yes. The community voted in the government that allowed me to emmigrate. It's their responsibility to deal with problems associated with that.

>Is it your tax dollars that should go to "rehabilitating" him?

Yes. We made the problem by allowing "me" to to emmigrate, now we deal with the problem.

>Sure, it may not be as big an issue for the Canadian authorities to deal with, but the point of the article is that it is a HUGE deal for the people in these countries, with a fraction of Canada's resources, to handle.

Then they shouldn't have let them emmigrate. If they did so illegally, plug up that leaky dyke.

>I'm not saying I sympathize with the criminals, but the problem isn't at all as cut and dried as you like to think.

Now I've considered this "other side", it's more cut and dried than beef jerky.
posted by shepd at 10:46 AM on November 18, 2003


Let's make it more interesting. Let's say that nations start unilaterally cancelling citizenships. Then where do they go?
posted by rushmc at 1:07 PM on November 18, 2003


Everyone is talking about the system as if it were some civics class. It ain't. It is as nasty as any market.

I am a US citizen living outside of the US. I have spoken with various east Europeanoids in mildly sleazy bars about immigration policy, and guess what? A lot of the guys who wind up in the US are mighty unsavory characters, but they can stay in the US simply by paying money to shady ethnic broker characters who have connections to the various beauracracies. Apparently, it works. You'd be amazed how many of Romania and Hungary's most talented least desirables have no problem residing in the US and Canada.

If you can generate enough income, and you know how and on whom to spend it, you are welcome to stay and become one of America's new sleazoid upper class. The Yardies simply don't know how and on whom to spend their money.
posted by zaelic at 3:57 PM on November 18, 2003


kindall, why are you ignoring the issue of the countries who cannot handle the criminals?

Because I don't see it as an issue.
posted by kindall at 4:14 PM on November 18, 2003


I think we need to use some of that old time justice "zombie-fication" by a poison extracted from pufferfish and mixed with other ingredients.
posted by soren at 5:11 PM on November 18, 2003


Shepd: How fascinating that you keep talking about people being "allowed to emigrate", yet on your metafilter identity page you talk about constitutional rights. In the United States, emigration is a right, not something the government "allows". Maybe you aren't from the United States and your constitution doesn't accept emigration as a right. Or perhaps you think other nations shouldn't grant their citizens rights which you yourself enjoy.

As for the problem in these people's "home" countries: so their country is over run by criminals and they end up even more poor than before. Makes for a great source of slave labor for the multi-national corporations to take advantage of in order to keep the "free world" supplied in cheap junk and sneakers. There often is method to their madness.

What I find terribly questionable is the notion that someone who grew up in the "host" country has no ties to it but does have more ties to their "home" country.
posted by Goofyy at 2:50 AM on November 19, 2003


techgnollic - 'Whats the last Jamaican movie to include a super-violent drugged-out "American gang" anyway?'

Absurd though this question is, it does indicate a certain perspective on Jamaican history.

Have you ever wondered why Jamaica has such a violent society?
Could it be a long term result of the US destabilisation of the country?
Why did the US spend so much time and money destabilising Jamaica?
Could it be because Jamaica had commited the sin of democratically voting in a candidate who did not agree completely with the US on political perspective?

The CIA flooded the country with cocaine and guns, the rest is history.

'CIA involvement in the arming of the JLP-linked gangs was revealed by the former agent Philip Agee. By the end of the 70s, JLP and PNP politicians bought gunmen as a means of sustaining political influence and handing out jobs and favours. After the 1980 election in Jamaica which brought the CIA stooge Edward Seaga to office, Jamaica became a sweatshop for American manufacturers, with Nike paying 20 cents an hour to handpicked cheap labour. Seaga turned the police and army onto the gun gangs whose expansion he'd overseen. By the mid 80s, the Americas Watch human rights monitoring group estimated that one third of the island's homicides were committed by the police. The gangs moved to New York and Miami, and many of them became street soldiers for the Cali cartel. '

A simplistic retort to the simplistic 'not our problem' position, might be:
The US has spread unrest and suffering throughout it's neighbors' lands, is it any suprise that some of this unrest is echoed within the US borders? And the rest of the world also suffer the same reflections of destruction.
posted by asok at 4:00 AM on November 19, 2003


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