Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2022. 4:21 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration has confirmed the detention of 16 Cuban nationals who it says entered Belize by “irregular means” and were located by the Mobile Interdiction Team of the Belize Police Department on Tuesday night.
It is part of a wider rise in the number of Cuban and other nationals entering Belize irregularly since the reopening of land borders in February.
According to Channel 7 News, the MIT and Customs Department personnel intercepted two private vehicles and two large cargo vans – respectively a white van, a black van, a blue F150 pickup, and a grey Nissan Xterra – in Orange Walk Town. After some chasing and searching a total of 16 Cubans, 2 Nicaraguans ranging in age from 19 to 57 years old, and three Belizeans from Belmopan and Orange Walk respectively were all apprehended. The Belizeans may face charges as developed by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Council (ATIPS).
In the specific case of the Cubans, a total of 39 such persons have been seen by the Department and the Ministry says they are claiming refugee status to avoid repatriation and are being handed over to Help for Progress.
The Ministry further notes that as of Wednesday, April 6, the Help for Progress Group Representative dealing with the migrants informed that the 13 Cuban nationals were released to the Human Rights Commission of Belize as a result of a Supreme Court Ruling on March 18, 2022, and that of the Belmopan Magistrate Court Ruling on March 23, 2022, respectively, are no longer at the shelter.
The Ministry reiterates its commitment to the Global Compact for a safe, regular, and orderly migration.
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