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Embassy Row: ‘No earthly ties’

The Jamaican ambassador in Washington apparently believed that Jamaicans smuggled into the United States as children would benefit when President Obama proclaimed a targeted amnesty last year.

Now, Ambassador Stephen Vascianne is shocked by the number of illegal Jamaican immigrants deported each month, including those whose parents brought them here illegally.

But once they return to the economically distressed Caribbean island, they cannot make it in Jamaica.

"Persons are sent to Jamaica when, in fact, they have no earthly ties to the country," he told the Jamaica Independence Celebration Foundation in New York over the weekend.

"They may have come to the United States as children, live their lives there, and now they are required to fend for themselves in unfamiliar territory."

Mr. Vascianne claimed that those deported to Jamaica with no family ties end up committing crimes, according to the Jamaica Observer newspaper, which reported on his speech at the foundation's annual Independence Ball.

The ambassador said about 75 Jamaicans are deported from the United States each month for committing serious crime, overstaying visas or entering the country illegally.

From 2002 through 2009, Jamaican deportees averaged about 157 a month, according to the Jamaican Embassy.

The Jamaican Gleaner newspaper last year reported on the enthusiasm in Jamaican communities in the United States when Mr. Obama ignored Congress and granted amnesty to many illegal immigrants brought to America as children.

Jamaican immigration officials expected as many as 100,000 would benefit from the amnesty, the newspaper said.

RED DALIA, BOW TIE, FARMER

President Obama next week will hold a White House summit with a motley crew of Baltic leaders that features a woman known as the "Red Dalia" who has a black belt in karate, a man who always wears a bow tie, and a former communist radio engineer from a political party of small farmers and environmentalists.

"This joint meeting will highlight the significant transformation the Baltic states have undergone since restoring independence two decades ago," the White House said in announcing the visit.

Mr. Obama's guests will be Toomas Hendrick Ilves, the sporty president of Estonia noted for his bow ties and free-market philosophy; Andris Berzins, a former Communist Party member and now president of Latvia from the Popular Front Union of Greens and Farmers; and Dalia Grybauskaite, president of Lithuania and another former communist.

Miss Grybauskaite, who was supported by the dominant Conservative Party in the 2009 presidential election, remains popular for tackling a crippling recession with measures than included a 15 percent pay cut for bureaucrats.

She is also known by several nicknames: Red Dalia, Steel Magnolia and the Iron Lady — a reference to one of her role models, the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

GOOD NEWS

The release of Hosni Mubarak is "good news," says a former ambassador to Egypt under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Ambassador Frank G. Wisner even thinks an Egyptian court's decision to free the former autocratic president from prison might even help heal the violent rift in the country that has seen more than 1,000 die in clashes in the past week.

"I think we should look at [Mr. Mubarak's release] as good news," Mr. Wisner told The Huffington Post. "I would like to think it would be the predecessor to a greater sense of reconciliation."

Mr. Wisner, ambassador to Egypt from 1986 to 1991, added that Egyptians must "come together."

"The country is faced with huge problems — problems of an economic and a political nature," he said.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com or @EmbassyRow.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
James Morrison

James Morrison

James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...

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