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Report: Illegal immigrants at Piarco

By SEAN DOUGLAS Monday, October 1 2007

PIARCO Airport might unwittingly be facilitating the entry to Trinidad and Tobago of illegal immigrants warned a report by the Joint Select Committee (JSC) chaired by Independent Senator Parvatee Anmolsingh-Mahabir laid in Parliament yesterday (Friday).

The report noted some 872,949 persons arriving at Piarco and Crown Point Airports last year on 18,509 aircraft flights, but warned of the challenge in facilitating legitimate visitors yet deterring illegal immigrants.

“The greatest challenge identified is the poor layout at the airport which appears to facilitate in-transit passengers being able to exit the terminal without being examined by an Immigration officer.” The Report urged that all aspects of port security be kept under constant review.

The JSC was concerned that the Immigration Division does not keep track of visitors to TT to note if and when they leave. “The systems for persons entering and leaving are not interlinked and therefore when a report is generated it is not a pure report.”

The report noted that many illegal immigrants consist of persons who enter legitimately but then overstay their time.

The committee hoped a more accurate tracking of persons would be facilitated by the electronic scanning of machine-readable passports.

“The Committee regards the inability to identify and track individuals who are in breach of the Immigration Regulations as a major weakness in the system.

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