Irregular Migrant Movement Can be Mitigated through Strategic Migration Schemes

Irregular Migrant Movement Can be Mitigated through Strategic Migration Schemes

The Ministry of Immigration has been conducting investigations into the increasing number of undocumented migrants entering Belize. This issue has persisted for the past several months, and recently, almost a dozen Asian nationals were taken into police custody for illegal entry into the country. In this recent instance, the individuals possessed Permanent Residency documents, but upon further investigations, the documents were determined to be fraudulent. The increasing number of undocumented migrants in Belize has become a major issue, especially since these persons are generally seeking a route to North America. This could cause diplomatic issues for Belize.However, the UNHCR’s Regional Representative, Philippa Candler, explains that this issue can be tackled by addressing the root problem and creating alternative migration schemes to discourage irregular movement.

Philippa Candler, High Commissioner for Refugees Regional Representative, UNHCR: “I think that the whole question of people moving in irregular manners is a global challenge that we’re facing at the moment. People are moving for all sorts of different reasons, refugee related reasons, economic reasons, climate change reasons, family reunification reasons, many reasons. I think in the Americas as a whole so including Belize as well of course we’re seeing unprecedented levels of displacement across the continent caused by again a number of different factors and we’re seeing many many people moving in irregular manners including through Belize to a smaller extent but nevertheless it is happening onwards and one of the big challenges here is how to have legal pathways for people so to discourage the overall movement of people in an irregular manner and there are some programs that exists, UNHCR for example looks at resettling people from their country of asylum to resettlement countries and Canada and the US in this region have resettlement programs. All these measures are things that need to be taken into consideration and it goes back to the information question. Information needs to be made available also to people that some schemes to exist and people should try to take advantage of it because it is true that in the context of these irregular movements people do sometimes travel with fake documents and are not necessarily always upfront about where they’re coming from and what they’re doing but the solution is not only to look at individual circumstances and case by cases which do have to be dealt with within the legal context of each country but also to look at solutions for the broader problem.”

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