Dealing with Venezuelan Influx

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We’re preparing now to document the migrants from Venezuela that have fled their homeland in search for a better life, yet we’re not sure what to expect when the process is over. At the moment, we know there are thousands of Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago, both coming in through the legal ports, and illegal ones, but we can only estimate until the documentation process is completed on June 14th.

For the time being, we’ll have to learn from Guyana on how to cope with such an influx of migrants. As of last month, there were an estimated 6,000 documented Venezuelans in Guyana seeking refuge.

A report on Caribbean Chronicle shows how housing arrangements for the migrants is a constant issue, with buildings being renovated to house them. It also notes that “As a result of the influx of Venezuelans, the regional health and education systems have been spread very thinly to cater to the needs of migrants.”

These are things we also foresee in Trinidad and Tobago, and it is necessary for the government to start identifying areas where Venezuelans can be housed and enrolled in schools. In Guyana, teachers are being trained to teach English as a second language to Spanish-speaking students and technology is also being heavily relied on to better manage the influx of migrants.

The system will allow them to work here for a year, but where do the children go to school and when the year is up, where do the families go? Back to Venezuela? How is that even going to happen, or will they all be deported one by one?

This is not a simple task for the authorities to track and monitor these possible tens of thousands of Venezuelans. Hopefully there are enough resources to adequately pull off something like this.

And, for those who do not register, will they be found and deported? Or will the influx continue through the illegal ports of entry long after the amnesty registration period is over? We hope this works out well, but only time will tell.