The Mobile Control Unit of the department of Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBP) continues to execute its duties with controls and expulsions.
Over the past few weeks, the community has been very supportive in the efforts to ensure that immigration laws are adhered to by all residents on the island. To that end, the Mobile Control Unit has been receiving anonymous tips of persons residing on the island illegally and as such, has acted on these tips received from residents within the community.
On September 19, 2022, the Mobile Control Unit visited several addresses given in the district of Cole Bay. Callers indicated that quite a large number of undocumented immigrants are residing in that area and they wish for action to be taken.
At one of the addresses controlled, an individual of St. Lucian nationality was found to be residing on the island since 2018 without legal status. He was read his rights and thereafter transported to the Mobile Control Office for further processing. He has since been repatriated to his country of origin.
Another tip directed the Mobile Control Unit to an individual residing in the South Reward area. This individual of Trinidadian nationality was stopped and controlled by the Mobile Control Unit. During the investigation process, it was confirmed that the gentleman was indeed residing on the island since 2020 without legal status. He was read his rights and transported to the Mobile Control office for further processing. After questioning the gentleman, he was given a lighter punishment of the weekly “Obligation to Report” measure due to personal circumstances. He had six (6) weeks to handle his affairs and repatriate to his country at his own free will. He has since left the island.
The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard is also active with controls as they protect the coast of Sint Maarten. On August 11, 2022, one individual of Kittitian nationality was stopped and controlled while fishing in the surrounding waters of St. Maarten. He was turned over to the Mobile Control Unit for further processing.
During the investigation process, he was questioned regarding his residential status. it was established that he had been residing on the island without legal status since 2020, and could not show any effort taken to apply for legal status. He was read his rights by the Mobile Control Unit and thereafter was released under the condition and understanding that he was given the lighter weekly “Obligation to Report” measure for a period of 6 weeks during which time he would have to leave the island at his own free will. He has since returned to his country of origin.
Immigration officers at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) are also paying keen attention to persons who show a history of overstaying on the island. One individual of Dominican Republic
nationality was stopped and refused entry on arrival at PJIA on September 25th, 2022, at approximately 8:00 PM, after it was established that he had been residing illegally in St. Maarten. Considering that he arrived on the last flight and there were no outbound flights available until a later date, the individual was turned over to the Mobile Control Unit for further processing. He was read his rights and thereafter transported to the Mobile Control office where he was processed and detained until the next available flight to repatriate him back to his native country. He has since departed back to the Dominican Republic.
In addition to these cases, at least three Venezuelan males and one Russian female were detained during routine controls by the Mobile Control Unit within the last few weeks. They were all interviewed and once it was confirmed that they were residing on the island without legal status and could not show any proof of application, they were processed and have all since been repatriated to their countries of origin.
The general public is reminded that it is a legal requirement that all persons when in public must have a valid form of identification in their possession. The identification law is mandatory for all inhabitants 12 years and older.
By extension, the population is reminded that by law, one have must documentation to prove legal status to reside in Sint Maarten. Failure to do so will result in being detained and processed for deportation if an investigation confirms a violation of the immigration laws.