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Feb 8, 2019

Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse Comments on Refugee Programme

Godwin Hulse

In 2018, fifteen persons were granted refugee status in Belize. Applications are reviewed by the Refugee Eligibility Committee which was activated after several years of dormancy. Dozens of applications have yet to be reviewed and according to Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse, the granting of refugee status to migrants is a sensitive issue in today’s climate.

 

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration

“The refugee’s situation in Belize is a touchy one. The UNDP has been pushing us. The US government has been pushing us. Look at US, the refugee and immigration situation. We have to shelter ourselves because we do not know what is going to happen in the north. Everybody hears US President Donald Trump and his issue with illegal immigrant and who is being deported and so forth. Charity begins at home. We are a small country. We have to reserve space for people who may be sent back to our country who are Belizeans who we cannot say no to. Resources are required for all of this. When we settle refugees, there is land involved, school and medical and we have Belizeans who have the same status. In fact, sometimes it gets to the point that our heart bleeds. But again we have to work within our structure and so forth and I will also add the Refugee Act is very simple. It says fourteen days. Some of these people have been here for seven, eight, ten, fifteen years. So they are using the refugee situation as a means to legalize themselves. They are not refugees in the true sense. They may be economic migrants. The way that a lot of people go to the States to look for a better way of life, they come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to look for a better way of life. Not refugees as such, running from anything which is the concept of a refugee.”  


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