Refugee family allowed to stay together

| 22/02/2021 | 22 Comments
Freites family protests outside the GAB

(CNS): Cabinet has used its powers to allow the family of a refugee to stay together until a gap in the immigration legislation has been addressed. Erica Alvarez-Freites will be allowed to remain in Cayman and legally work for two years, by which time the law will have been changed to enable her to regularize her residency rights. A press release issued Friday said that in the interim, government will treat the issues surrounding people who have been granted and those seeking asylum on the merits of each case.

Alvarez-Freites is originally from the Dominican Republic and was not with her husband, Javier Freites, when he came to Cayman as a Cuban migrant and was granted asylum. The couple has a baby daughter who was born here and is therefore Javier Freites’ lawful dependent. However, because of a gap in the Customs & Border Control Act, 2018, Erica Alvarez-Freites is not a dependent and was in danger of being deported.

Over the last month the family have been demonstrating outside the Government Administration Building due to mounting fears that the family could be split up because the law currently provides no means for Alvarez-Freites to be Freites’ dependent because of his refugee status. This not only breaches Cayman’s own Bill of Rights but also contravenes the United Nations 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.

While government has accepted for some time that the law needs to be changed to accommodate spouses of successful asylum seekers, the administration has been dragging its heels on the necessary amendments to the law. Cabinet had paved the way for the changes in December but the ministry responsible for border control has not completed the drafting of the amendment.

With no parliament now to pass legislation until April, Cabinet has now stepped in to directly deal with the situation by using its powers in accordance with section 53(1)(b) of the Immigration (Transition) Act, 2018, and grant an exemption to allow Alvarez-Freites to remain in Cayman and work.

“Cabinet, at a recent meeting, exercised those powers in respect of the spouse of a particular asylum recipient, thereby providing an opportunity for gainful employment within specified occupations for a period of two years. That decision was subsequently communicated to the relevant parties earlier this week by CBC,” officials stated.

Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) will manage employment-related services, while the Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) will continue to facilitate additional temporary support services, the release stated.

Officials noted that the individual circumstances of those seeking or who have received asylum will continue to be assessed and the appropriate support will be provided in tandem with other agencies as necessary. 

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (22)

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  1. Anon. says:

    There are many contradictions/silliness in Cayman laws because current and previous administrations were narrow-sighted and passed laws to “fix” issues that would disenfranchise expatriates but failed to consider the implications it would have on Caymanians.

    One glaring example is the necessity for Caymanian (specifically those who were born here to parents and grandparents who were also born here) children born after March 1977 to “apply” to be recognised as Caymanians!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The guy is here legally. He is involved with a woman who had his baby. That baby should be able to stay with its father. The mother with the baby. So, the facts are what they are. Not the greatest reason for the families ability to stay here, but he is a status holder. No he didn’t really earn it here, but factually he is allowed to be here and his family too.

  3. anon says:

    Could the Cabinet use it’s powers to consign the wig and the Afican dictator gown to the dump?.

  4. Anonymous says:

    12:29 pm, are you foolish enough not to know what the Government gives them, it comes from the Tax/duties paying citizens, why you cant understand that ?

  5. Anonymous says:

    This outcome should NOT surprise anyone as we all already know foreigners can come to this country and receive anything over a Caymanian. I am quite sure if we went to their country to “demand” or “protest” for what we felt we deserved it would not be met with open arms from their citizens so why do that bullshit here? (no offense intended and it’s not directed to any particular one in a harmful way)

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are they giving these people political asylum here? They have opened up a can of worms. Send them back. The money wasted on them should be spent on our very own.
      The word will spread and more will keep coming. Why is it the laws are always in favour of the newcomer and always against the Caymanian. See what would happen to us, if we went to Cuba or Santo Domingo and protested? Only in the Cayman Island,
      I hope our young people will make a serious mark in these islands and rid these places of all the driftwoods/nuisances/criminals that are riding high on taxpayers contributions, sponsored by this government.
      VOTE them out! Clean the slate and start afresh. We deserve better.

      CNS: International law dictates how we treat asylum seekers and that we must give it to those who deserve it. People given political asylum must prove that they are subject to persecution in their home country. Cubans who come here who are found not to qualify for asylum (i.e. economic migrants) are returned to Cuba under the agreement with the Cuban government (unless they mysteriously escape, of course). It has absolutely nothing to do with who you vote for. I sincerely hope that the young people here have compassion for those who are persecuted and not irrationally assume they are criminals, and that they don’t use words like ‘driftwood’ to describe human beings because that would indicate that they are bigots. We hope they rise above that level of ignorance.

      • Anonymous says:

        👍👍👍 to CNS

      • Anon. says:

        Seriously? Now that isn’t a very Christian attitude, considering that Cayman Islands is a Christian nation.

        They are human beings and are simply seeking a better life for themselves, some are running from political persecution, something Cayman knows nothing about but your selfish attitude is to send them back and look out for yourself.

        May you never find yourself in a foreign land in dire need of human kindness.

  6. Anonymous says:

    yet the mother of my caymanian child not allowed to stay? immifration want me to marry her first….y3t these foreigners are allowed….sounds like human rights being …..

    • Anonymous says:

      Can I cone to your country and have children and would Your goverment do for me? Would they? You think i could protest in your country?? Could i run to your goverment and complane??

    • Anonymous says:

      If anything, thank the lord it doesn’t work like that. I’m not saying Marriage should be the benchmark, but just popping a kid out by any old wide boy on Island shouldn’t qualify you at all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    🇨🇺 Cubans rock! They don’t take NO for an answer when International Laws are on their side.

    People of the Cayman Islands should learn from them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure troll. They are sooo powerful that all 11 million of them cannot overthrow the communist government that has been in power since 1959. Maybe that could improve their quality of life. The best protest they can come up is to jump ship, literally. The people of the Cayman Islands are learning from this alright…

  8. Anonymous says:

    CNS your headline is misleading. They are not a refugee family – he is the only refugee in the mix. Their relationship postdates his arrival. So in effect he is getting her residency through his asylum status. Not saying that is wrong or failure to allow it isn’t a breach of his human rights, but its not quite as emotive as suggesting that somehow a refugee is at risk of being deported. Woman who married an asylum seeker and had a baby with him after he arrived here is at risk of being deported because she doesn’t not have a right to reside or a work permit in her own right would be a more accurate description.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is he even a ‘refugee’ or just another economic migrant like so many of the other Cuban ‘asylum seekers’ who end up here?

      CNS: Clearly he has been through the process and been granted refugee status. Unless you are on the board, you don’t know the details and are not in a position to judge. The use of quotation marks does not make your case.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are all entitled to judge and most of the details are known. They need to get on over to the DR. Why insist on staying where you are not wanted when you have a perfectly good latin american country to go to.

        CNS: Once a person has been given refugee status by one country, it is not straight forward to relocate to another country and if they do so they may lose protections or even be returned to their country of origin. This is why many Cubans choose to travel on in dangerously unsafe vessels so that they can claim asylum in the US if they actually make it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    ​Just curious as to where Mr. Freites was trying to get to when he left Cuba? If he and his family can go and live in the Dominican Republic how can he say that they are being denied the right to family life? If they can live in the Dominican Republic then is it reasonable to conclude that he is no longer a “political refugee” entitled to Cayman Status and all the benefits that go along with the “political refugee” status? (Free rent and utilities paid by the Cayman Islands government). I do not get the impression that Mr. Freites has any great love for Cayman since he was boldly flying the Cuban flag during his protest. It is my guess that he is doing quite well for himself and his family and he is out for all that he can take from the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you share your food plate with them? If no, what is your problem? Be happy that people’s ordeal is over! We are all human!

      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
      (That Place in Your Heart Ronan Hardiman)

      In your next life you could be walking in their shoes.

      • Anonymous says:

        We all share our plate with them – who do you think pays for their accommodation and cost of living? Neither are employed. Its the tax payer bobo, not the magic money tree.

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