Venezuelan migrants wave to relatives as they are taken from the heliport at the Chaguaramas to be deported to Venezuela on August 12. – File photo/Grevic Alvarado
VENEZUELAN refugee Juan Manuel Acosta who returned to TT after he was expelled on August 12, has made it to the United States.
Acosta left for Houston, Texas, on Wednesday night on a United Airlines flight.
He had been approved for resettlement in the US through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Five days after he was deported, despite his refugee status, Acosta returned to TT.
Five days after Acosta was deported, he returned to TT. One of his lawyers, Blaine Sobrian, is now calling on the Commissioner of Police to investigate National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds for crimes against humanity for signing Acosta’s deportation order.
Acosta also filed a private complaint against the minister.
He claimed that he, like several others, was forced to sign a deportation order under threat of imprisonment and was not afforded the right to challenge his rejection.
Acosta’s attorneys from the firm Quantum Legal said a special inquiry should have been held when asylum-seekers were held under a detention order and one was not done.
Sobrian said Acosta was simply asked two questions by officials: if he had entered the country illegally, and if he was working anywhere in the country.
“Our client instructs that his deportation was wholly and utterly improper and illegal, contravening and/or bypassing several mandatory provisions of the Immigration Act. We now gravely fear that the circumstances surrounding our client’s deportation may not have been an isolated incident but that our other clients may have suffered an identical experience. Our client has re-entered the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago against the mandates of his Form 19B order of deportation,” the letter to the commissioner read.
It also said Acosta returned to TT in fear that his life, physical integrity and security were in danger in Venezuela.
In response, the police’s legal unit asked for time to respond to the letter and said it intended to do so on September 18.
Newsday understands that Acosta did not surrender himself to the police since they did not ask for him to do so despite his willingness.
Acosta was one of close to 200 Venezuelan nationals who were held during a raid at the Apex Bar in St James on July 9.
Some of them were ordered to be conditionally released by the court while 98 of them were deported on August 12, including Acosta.