Over the past two weeks, the Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) reported the arrival of several boats of migrants in Cayman waters. Not to be outdone, CBC confirmed that another 9 migrants arrived on the south shore of Cayman Brac around 11:00pm on Saturday, April 30, 2022.
According to the CBC, the vessel had 8 males and 1 female onboard.
Regarding the health status of the migrants, the CBC confirmed aid that all migrants appear to be in good health and one migrant was treated by the Health Services Authority’s Emergency Medical Technicians for a laceration to his foot.
CBC said that the migrants will be processed in accordance with CBC’s established processing protocols and will be transported to Grand Cayman as soon as possible.
While the hard work of the CBC is acknowledged and appreciated, the trend of arriving migrants is troubling because, once the facilities holding migrants reaches their capacity in the future, illegal migrants may have to be housed in the prisons or within the community if CBC’s migrant contingency plans do not result in the processing of migrants on a timely basis (repatriating them to their country of origin or otherwise).
The situation also requires money to be spent by the Cayman Islands Government which, based on the recent numbers of migrants, will surpass the USD 1,000,000 spent on migrants in previous years. This is important because the government has probably not budgeted for mass migration impacts, which may result in a reallocation of resources to pay for health care and other issues connected to thousands of undocumented migrants, should the numbers end up in the thousands this summer.
The picture of thousands of migrants is not unrealistic considering that one popular migrant origin is Cuba, which is not that far away from the Cayman Islands and millions of people there are seeking to escape their conditions for a better life somewhere- which is usually the United States. However, for an illegal migrant, the United States as a final destination can easily change to Cayman. This is because Cayman is close to Cuba and Cayman has a reputation for having more jobs that people to fill posts. Seeking opportunities here may therefore may make perfect sense.
Another issue that may impact numbers is the idea that some locals have suggested that “boats may be assisting the migrants to leave their origin, for example, from Cuba, and then dropping them off in Cayman waters to be later found and cared for by the CBC.” If this is true, then the CBC might consider engaging the Cayman Islands Coast Guard and the police helicopter to patrol Cayman’s waters more frequently to detect migrant activity.
Overall, the idea is not that migrants are not welcome in Cayman, but that they are treated properly and that national security, health and other issues are adequately addressed.