By Aaron Humes: CEO of the Ministry of Immigration Gilroy Middleton refuted claims of political benefits from the forthcoming amnesty program.
Those who are amnestied receive permanent residence, not citizenship, and would need to wait five years for the latter. (Ordinarily, you would have to be here for a year; you would have the right to live and work here but not to vote.)
It means they would not be able to vote in the village council, town council, or general elections as the program does not conclude before 2023.
But these individuals do contribute to the Belizean economy albeit off the books; the change would bring these persons into the formal society.
Mario Arzu said this program is an alternative to, for instance, deporting individuals and adding to the migratory flow. This addresses those who are already here and contributing and the country should reach out to them.