Stories similar to this one come and go across my desk from time to time and most I have no time to mention. This one caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, the Jamaica news account lists the countries the pair traveled through before reaching Jamaica. International refugee law requires that legitimate “asylum seekers” ask for asylum in the first safe country in which they land—not skip across the globe ‘shopping’ for asylum.
Thus, by the way, those other than Mexicans who presented themselves at the US border last week, here, should have sought protection in the first country they arrived in that was not the country that had “persecuted” them.
And, the second troubling thing about this story is that the Jamaica report says the couple was headed to the US, but a Cayman Island report says they arrived earlier in the Caymans from the US!
Here are the pertinent parts of the story from Jamaica’s The Gleaner:
A Syrian couple who arrived from the Cayman Islands, en route to the United States early August, has asked for asylum in Jamaica.
Responding to queries from The Sunday Gleaner, the Ministry of National Security last week identified the couple as Fadi Al Lababidi and Hayat Hejazi.
“They arrived in Jamaica from the Cayman Islands on Sunday, August 4, but were denied permission to land,” the ministry said.
The Sunday Gleaner understands that Jamaican immigration officials became suspicious after the two were found to be carrying Syrian passports, with both having the same January 1 birthday.
Check out their travel itinerary! No immigration and customs official in all those countries saw anything amiss??? And, imagine the cost of those flights!
According to the ministry (Jamaica Ministry of National Security), the couple’s itinerary indicated that they “travelled from Syria to Beirut, Moscow, Havana, and Grand Cayman and from there to Kingston. They stated that they did not seek asylum in Lebanon or Russia because they felt these countries were friendly with the Syrian government”.
The ministry said arrangements have been made to accommodate the couple while the Refugee Eligibility Committee makes the determination of their status.
LOL! I wonder if they were part of the orchestrated US asylum claimers and got lost along the way.
Came from the US?
Adding to the mystery is that the Cayman Islands paper says they left the US! One thing is for sure, immigration in the Cayman Islands did not initially detect the pair as frauds and allowed them to proceed to Jamaica.
From Cayman News Service:
(CNS): A Syrian couple who managed to get through the Cayman Islands on what appear to be forged passports are claiming asylum in Jamaica, the local press is reporting. Jamaica’s Ministry of National Security has revealed that Fadi Al Lababidi and Hayat Hejazi arrived in Cayman from the United States early this month before they then flew from this jurisdiction to Jamaica on Syrian passports, both of which carried the same 1 January birth date. Immigration officials in the neighbouring country were suspicious and the couple were denied permission to land after claiming they had reservations at a Kingston hotel, which proved not to be true.
Who are these two? Perhaps doing a test run!