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US to review deportation practice

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The United States of America needs to change the way it deports felons to their mother countries, because the way it is done now, is unfair, according to veteran New York congressman Eliot Engel.{{more}}

Engel, who led a congressional delegation to the 5th Summit of the Americas held from April 17th to 19th in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, led a delegation on a two-day visit to this country following the summit.

At a press conference in Cabinet Room last Monday, April 20th, Engel acknowledged the concerns that are continually raised by Caribbean and Latin American countries about persons who are deported to these countries after they are convicted of crimes, after having spent most of their lives in the United States.

“Very often people are deported to countries they really know very little about,” Engel, who is a longtime friend and college mate of Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker, said.

Engel, who is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Sub Committee on the Western Hemisphere in the congress, said that while the United States has the right to deport people who have committed violent felonies, due care must be given to letting the receiving countries know who is coming back to them.

He said that before he held a hearing on the matter, he did not know that felons’ complete records were not given to authorities in their birth land, only the record of the crime for which they had their latest conviction.

Engel and his fellow New York congressman Gregory Meeks also indicated their support to this country and other Caribbean countries which stand to be affected by the two pieces of legislation that were introduced in the House of Representatives and are aimed at US tax cheats who use off shore banking facilities to avoid paying taxes among other things.

The congressmen said that it is important that the US finds ways to close loopholes which are being used by US citizens who are using the Caribbean countries’ Financial Services sector to cheat on their taxes.

Congressman Meeks said that while the US is trying to arrest the problem of tax cheats, it must be fair in dealing with its CARICOM neighbours.

He said that the CARICOM countries have been doing everything asked of them thus far in relation to tightening the securities in their financial sectors and therefore any problem identified should be discussed with countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines, which will be affected by any new regulation implemented.

Offshore tax abuse is said to cost the U.S. Treasury an estimated $100 billion each year.

Referring to the overall relationship between the United States and its Western Hemispheric neighbours, including CARICIOM countries, congressman Engel said that the age of friendship has just begun.

“I think the days of dominance are over, frankly I think the days of arrogance are over; I think the days of friendship begin today,” he said.

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