Illegals assured that vaccination will not expose them to deportation
by Shelton Daniel
Persons who are in Antigua and Barbuda illegally, because the length of stay granted to them by the Immigration Departmenthas expired and not been renewed, need not be afraid of coming forward to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
This assurance came from the nation’s head of government during his weekly radio program on Saturday.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne noted that persons whose status in Antigua has not been regularized may fear that presenting themselves for vaccination could result in them being spotted as ‘illegals’ from the official picture ID and other information that is collected for immunization records.
But the Prime Minister gave his word that no illegal immigrant would be apprehended or pursued on the basis of data captured during the vaccination program.
“Even the illegal immigrants who are here … it doesn’t really matter … you should get vaccinated and I will give a guarantee here, that if there is any individual whose time is not up-to-date and they go to get vaccinated, there is no possibility of deporting that person on that basis. So, those who are resident here, whose time may not necessarily be up-to-date, that should not be seen as an impediment not to get vaccinated.”
PM Browne noted that, “We are as vulnerable as the most vulnerable individual. So if the most vulnerable individual in our midst is an undocumented or illegal immigrant, then clearly we are all collectively vulnerable.”
He added that such vulnerability means, “We must allow some space for these individuals to get vaccinated without any fear of reprisals.”
Said the Prime Minister finally on this particular subject: “I’m giving that assurance that there will be no deportations based on individuals who are seeking to get vaccinated and individuals whose time may not be current.”