Jamaicans are among the more than 800,000 ‘dreamers’ — people who were illegally brought to the United States as children — who now face an uncertain future, as their rights to remain there are in dangers. This is in the wake of US President Donald Trump rescinding the special order signed by his predecessor President Barack Obama.
There was more uncertainty yesterday as President Trump said he was “fairly close” to completing a deal with Democrats that would allow dreamers to stay — a move that did not sit well with many Republicans.
While the vast majority of those dreamers are originally from Mexico, more than 3,000 Jamaicans are in the equation, as Jamaica ranks as one of the top countries of origin.
Mexicans make up the vast number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order signed by President Obama in 2012, with a total of some 618,000 approvals, according to statistics from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The next three countries come from Central America — El Salvador with 28,371, Guatemala with 19,792 and Honduras with 18,262.
But Jamaica ranks 12th on the list of DACA approvals — a total of some 3,435 Jamaicans had their initial applications approved under DACA and are in danger now of having to return to their original home. And another 3,192 Jamaicans had their renewal applications approved, for a total of 6,627 people.
In initial applications, Jamaica places just behind the Philippines with 4,665 and ahead of India with 3,182.
Other Caribbean countries include the Dominican Republic with 3,115, followed by ‘Tobago” (presumably Trinidad and Tobago) with 2,096 and Guyana with 1,266, while Venezuela ranks just below Jamaica with 3,099 approved initial requests.
The high number of dreamers may be related to the high number of Jamaicans who emigrate to the United States.
In 2015, Jamaica remained one of the top countries for immigrants to the US on an annual basis, according to USCIS statistics.
Out of 1,051,031 lawful immigrants to the US in 2015 from around the world, a total of 17,362 Jamaicans legally emigrated to the United States — a slight decline from 18,804 in 2014 and 19,052 in 2013.
Only two other regional countries sent more immigrants to the US in that year, Cuba with 54,178 people and the Dominican Republic with 50,382.
More Jamaicans immigrated to the US than from Haiti, a country with a population of some 10 million people, with 16,787 emigrants to the US in 2015.
There were more Jamaican immigrants than from the UK, a country with some 65 million people, which only had 14,653 eemigrating to the US in 2015.
In fact, Jamaica ranked eighth in the list of legal immigrants to the US in 2015, behind Mexico (157,227), China 70,977), India (61,380), Philippines (54,307), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Vietnam (30,322), Canada (19,309) and El Salvador (18,699). Jamaica has the smallest population of all those nations, with El Salvador’s being the closest at 6.4 million people — or more than twice Jamaica’s population of 2.8 million.