There is no truth to the allegations that the US deported Venezuelans through T&T.
So said National Security Minister Stuart Young, in response to comments made internationally by US Senator Robert Menendez, that the US conducted “stealth” deportations of Venezuelans back to their homeland through T&T over January to March.
Young said “As far as I’m aware there is no truth to the allegations.”
Senator Menendez in a letter written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the Department of Homeland Security, accused the Trump administration of “surreptitiously deporting Venezuelans through third countries,” though US law prohibits forced repatriation of refugees to places where their lives or their freedom could be threatened.
Menendez said the State Department “in recent weeks” had confirmed to his office in writing that the deportations occurred via T&T between January and March 2020. He said the deportations appeared to violate a 2019 US travel ban prohibiting air travel to Venezuela.
He also sought details of US consultations on Venezuelan deportations with each government facilitating their transfer “including Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and any other countries involved.”
Young said “It’s a strange proposition.”
“The T&T Government knows of no such instance and certainly didn’t agree to any such exercises.”
Young maintained “It would have to have the Government’s approval and it did not. Neither Immigration nor me are aware of any such incident”.