Body of Jamaican National Who Was Trying to Illegally Enter US Found on Streets of Mexico

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica's government has warned nationals against participating in illegal attempts to enter the United States as it confirmed that the body of a person found on the streets in Mexico was a Jamaican national, who was seeking to enter the North American country illegally.

FAjohForeign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith at news conference (CMC Photo)“A young man who had been missing in Mexico has now been identified as having died. He was regrettably an unidentified person found on a street in Mexico and his family had no idea where he was,” Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith told reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet news conference.

She said the persons with whom the individual had traveled to Mexico in the hope of entering the United States had become “uncontactable" by the family.

“However, some efforts were made by our embassy to reach out to the Department that is responsible for identification of personnel …and it was found that the young Jamaican citizen was identified as having had an autopsy performed on him, but not having been a body claimed.

“We will be working with the family to see what we can do in terms of the repatriation of the body,” she said without providing any details as to the identity of the person or the family members.

“These things are not a bed of roses and the stories that these scammers and smugglers sell to individuals in vulnerable communities, they shouldn’t be trusted,” she told reporters, warning of “another developing situation on which I will update in short order…but it involves kidnapping”.

Johnson Smith said the government is not seeking to close any channel but is involved in efforts to “inform people and to ensure that our border control is optimal in the sense that our passport and immigration, citizenship agencies provide documentation which is appropriate, trusted and honored by not only our citizens but our international partners”.

She said Jamaicans are aware that the United States is changing some of its asylum rules “and we continue to monitor those (and) we know that our Missions in the US …continue to be sensitive to the movement of people…and to any announcements, understand them better in terms of their implications for Jamaicans”.

The Foreign Affairs Minister reiterated that “there are real consequences to trying to enter the US illegally, or any other country for that matter and we really encourage Jamaicans to take a second and a third thought before it is that they take that decision”.

Last month, Belize defended the decision to impose visa restrictions on Jamaican and Haitian nationals entering the country, insisting that they are not attempting to restrict Jamaicans or Haitians who intend to come to Belize legitimately.

The government said it would invoke Article 226 (a) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which governs the regional integration movement CARICOM.

The John Briceno government said that invoking the article will allow the Minister of Immigration to immediately impose a visa requirement for Haitians visiting Belize.

Jamaican nationals must provide evidence of fully paid, non-refundable hotel reservations before boarding flights to Belize.

The authorities said that over 2,000 Haitian nationals entered Belize between March 2022 and April this year and that over 1900 had vanished without a trace, presumably crossing over into Mexico illegally en route to the United States.

Chief executive officer of the Ministry of Immigration, Dr. Gilroy Middleton, said the situation with Jamaican nationals disappearing after entering Belize is also similar, except that it involves a considerably smaller number.

“Regarding the Jamaicans, the numbers are similar, but we haven’t reached a tipping point concerning the Haitians. Considering the Jamaicans, we’ve had some 1 673 Jamaicans entering via the PGIA (Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport) primarily since January 2022.

“To date, of that 1, 673 we’ve had some 788 depart through one of our legal border crossings, leaving some 895 Jamaicans who have not exited through our northern border point of exit or any other of our formal border points.”