Legal gap threatens Cuban refugee family

| 05/02/2021 | 44 Comments
Cayman News Service
Javier Freites talks to police during his protest

(CNS): Government has accepted that a gap in the law is causing problems for a family of Cuban refugees who have been protesting outside the government building this week. Javier Freites has been granted asylum in the Cayman Islands, but while his 10-month-old baby daughter also has the right to reside here with him, the law does not protect his wife, Erica Alvarez-Freites, who is under threat of deportation.

Officials from the ministry responsible for border control said that they have been in discussions with the family and advised them that changes in the law will require time for the Cabinet and Parliament to consider. But in the meantime, they are looking for legal ways to help the family stay together.

“The government continues to provide financial support in the form of rental and utilities assistance and in some cases food vouchers as well, and Mr and Mrs Freites continue to benefit from that programme,” the government stated.

While officials said that Alvarez-Freites can seek a job, for which she would need a work permit but which would allow her to stay, the government is actively considering other options under the current legal framework that would facilitate her request to remain and work in the country with her family. Government said it would review and consider legislative amendments, and will advise when the amendments are agreed.

The couple told CNS that they just want their marriage and their family to be recognised, allowing Alvarez-Freites to be granted residency and employment rights, so they can make a better life for themselves and their child. The problem the couple face is that while the asylum law allows a refugee granted asylum to add a dependent child already here, there is no provision for a spouse who was not with the asylum claimer at the time of application.

The problem also impacts at least four more Cuban refugees.

Worried that nothing has been happening to address their problem, they began a protest this week, but despite camping outside the government building day and night for a week, so far no officials have come to talk to them and explain what, if anything, is happening to address the problem.

The couple protested back in October, when they were arrested and police took their baby into protective care, which put an end to their efforts at protesting, But they returned to the street this week because there is still no movement in their case.

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Comments (44)

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  1. Caymanian on guard says:

    Cayman has a repatriation agreement with Cuba, we should abide by that.

  2. Born Caymanian says:

    What’s the big fuss? I am a Caymanian, and I too would to see all my immediate family members live with me. NO BIG FUSS. If Javier met his wife here and the child is born here, the child is Caymanian. NATURAL JUSTICE would dictate that the government ought to make a provision that his wife gets Asylum as well, as she has a Caymanian child. Don’t we do this for Cayman Status holders??? ….please … enough with the racist-like or protectionist-like comments.

    • Anonymous says:

      Child is not Caymanian as parents are not. Law was put in place to cut down on anchor babies. Doesn’t seem to have worked.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is not how it works. The child is not Caymanian nor should they just be given a free for all. Just like anyone else who comes here there are proper channels to go through to gain residency and status.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:15 pm, if u are not on Government handout, then you should take them in and give them food and a room in your house to live free of cost, if that’s how you feel

  3. Anonymous says:

    8:44 am, we agree with you 100 %, you are a sensible person. You have common sense. Which is not common these days.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If they are from Cuba then they should understand how a third world government works. If they still don’t like it then follow the Caymanians favorite phrase (go back to where you came from) but leave your money here so we can feed ourselves.

  5. There must be a limit says:

    Where do we draw the line? The toddler is obviously eligible, but if either of them has older children, they will naturally want to bring them here as well. Where does it stop?

  6. Anonymous says:

    So they weren’t married when he claimed asylum. Did he meet her in Cayman? If so, what was her immigration status then?

  7. Anonymous says:

    No. Get a job and work permit. Like the other 95 percent of expats here. Asylum is not status or residency so why should they jump the que.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Everyone expect for the people of the cayman islands to mind them . Government has no money . Government money come from fees paid by the people . Enough is Enough . Find work or move your bottoms on to some where else .

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can she speak English ? Why didn’t they protest back in Cuba about things there ? They come here and wants everything to suit them and for free and don’t even want to speak English, they feel we must speak Spanish for them, they are very difficult people. Cayman will be much better without that kind if people.

  10. Say it like it is says:

    Comments so far just show how racism is rife in Cayman and who is to blame for it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently you don’t know what racism is. This is very different.

      • Say it like it is says:

        3.57pm I have since read the many subsequent comments most of which support my contention. The only humanity and sympathy come from elsewhere.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      8:32 pm, people like you is racism . Always talking foolish about racism. Why don’t you take them and feed them and house them. you are probably on Government hand out and don’t understand Government money comes from tax/duties paying people

      • Anonymous says:

        Only Caymanians are on government handouts. The rest of us are educated and working.

        • Anonymous says:


        • Anonymous says:

          lol .. yea … educated, right … I bet your country is taxing your people too to give them hand-outs!

        • Anonymous says:

          11:09 am, yes you are so smart that you couldn’t make it in your own country, you had to come here and run Cayman and Caymanians down, while enjoying the good life,
          Caymanians made it where it is today. I wonder why you never stayed in your own country and built it up so you could have had a good life there.

          • Anonymous says:

            2:08 I wish I could like your comment a million times. If their home countries are “so wonderful” why did they drag their asses here to Cayman? Clearly they couldn’t cut it where they come from. Always so quick to talk down our people and disrespect our Island which has provided them with a job and roof over their head. Best try so humble themselves and learn some respect. Over these entitled expats and their meaningless two cent opinions.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not racism if it’s cultural. Caymanians are all about their culture. They have nothing else.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its not racism if these people are accepting hand-outs (free rent!??! me too please!), its a matter of ensuring people who are not caymanian and who come here are able to contribute.

  11. Kmt says:

    Even when they get the right to work they will not work. Why work when your rent, utilities and sometimes food is being paid for by the government? This is just a ploy so that the wife’s kids can be brought here to also live off of CI government.

    The situation would be different if he was already married to her prior to receiving asylum but he wasnt.

    • Anonymous says:

      You hit the nail on the head! Looking to bring more kids here for government to support. 🤬

    • Anonymous says:

      What a nasty comment.

      no one is immune from a plague, homelessness and poverty. It can happen to you tomorrow or in a month. Nothing in life is predictable.
      You might end up walking in their shoes in a foreign land. All it would take is Cat 5 direct hit, or an earthquake or the Dump explosion/ uncontrollable fire.

      So count your blessings, express gratitude and help less fortunate. Or at least keep your mouth shut.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cuba is a paradise so I don’t understand why he left, but he should give some thought to going where the baby momma is from. Problem solved.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cry me a river. Cayman is too little for this, and it is not their only option.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you can find the “off” switch for your own mouth. We do still have freedom of speech, don’t we?

    • Anonymous says:

      There are many existential threats to your homeland, more accurately 22×8 homeisland.

      One day you might find yourself knocking on Cuba’s door amid some natural or man made disaster.

      So don’t be a snob and a bigot looking down on less fortunate. Stay human. “We are all born the same, then we separate.”

      That Place in Your Heart
      Song by Ronan Hardiman

      Walk with me
      Break some bread here with me
      Why can’t you live with me?
      Who are you?
      What did I do to you?
      Wish I knew
      Why can’t I live with you?
      We are all born the same
      Then we separate
      Then the world falls apart
      And blame turns to hate
      We can not contemplate
      How far apart we are
      There is always a way
      To that place in your heart
      Hated one
      Just put down your gun
      Done is done
      Why can’t we live as one?
      Feel no shame
      The air we breath is the same
      Heal the pain
      Why do we live in vain?
      We are all born the same
      Then we separate
      Then the world falls apart
      ❤️ ✌🏼🙏

      • Anonymous says:

        Not Cuba, UK. Remember what happened when volcano erupted in Montserrat ?

        • Anonymous says:

          In the immediate threat, UK is too far to evacuate 60,000 people.
          Cuba and Jamaica would be asked for assistance.

          • Anonymous says:

            Fair enough. I just hope those ones who speak all these hateful judgmental things never find themselves in a position of a refugee. God works in mysterious ways. Speaking of which, I try but fail to see the Christian love here. Pure vitriol and condemnation. Just makes one wonder.

      • Anonymous says:

        We disagree.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The failure by the authorities to implement a solution to the known problems is longstanding. The accountability is zero.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So she can work if she can get a work permit? So get as work permit just like the rest of us.
    BTW, why have kids if you can’t afford them??? SMH

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope this opinion represents you only.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can she get a permit and work is one question? But can she pass the REQUIRED ENGLISH TEST? As this is the LAW.I say these folks are the most UNGRATEFUL to deal with we change the law this month to accommodate them then next month they come with another request another protest.and it goes on and on they are never truly satisfied.I still say it cheaper give them food water and gas and send them on there merry way to where they truly want to go which is not cayman

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