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Apr 6, 2009

Illegal immigrants to head back to Cuba…

Story PictureAnd we turn to immigration matters. There are ongoing investigations in two cases involving nationals who use Belize as a spring board to the United States. The first case involves eight Chinese nationals—seven men and one woman—who arrived on a direct chartered flight on the Cuban airline, Aero Caribbean on March twenty-sixth. The initial reports were that the Chinese did not have the required visas on arrival. The question on everyone’s mind was ‘how did they get on the flight without visas in the first place?’ It turns out that the Chinese nationals entered Cuba with tourist cards and then according to information to News Five, boarded the plane to Belize with false visas. When the group arrived at the P.G.I.A., the visa pages had been torn out of their passports. And now, the snag in their repatriation has to do with the cost of sending the Chinese back to where they took the flight, Havana. Visas issued to nationals of countries that are on the prohibited list have to be cleared and authorized by the Immigration Office in Belmopan and since the visas were not legit, a repatriation fee was not paid and government is still to approve the monies to send back the group. Tonight they remain in custody at the Hattieville prison until they are deported, which is expected to be later this week in another direct flight to the island.

The other case involves a larger group of Cubans, two who died from overexposure to the elements while at sea as they made their way to Belize in a small boat. Fourteen other survivors from this group were found stranded about fourteen miles north of Middle Caye on February fourteenth and were charged with Illegal Entry. They are also still being held at the Hattieville prison and are scheduled to leave the country once funding is identified.

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