Addressing the Family Unification Resettlement Initiative (FURI) award ceremony in New York, Congressman Engle urged Caribbean Nationals in the US to lobby for the success of the Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, which President Obama signed into law in December before he left office.
One of the authors of the U.S./Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act, Congressman Eliot Engle said in June, the State Department submitted to Congress the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in the Caribbean.
He has urged Caribbean nations and the US congress to work together to ensure that the Act is fully implemented and has the resources dedicated to it so that it can succeed.
“This is an important first step, but we will need to see many more improvements to the President’s 2018 international affairs budget in order to truly enhance our engagement with the Caribbean. And as we do this, we also need to redouble efforts to ensure that this funding reaches vulnerable populations, including deportees,” Engle noted.
He urged members of the Caribbean-American diaspora–to lobby his colleagues in the House and Senate and make the case for funding for the Caribbean. “Now is the time for action, and none of us can be complacent,” he declared.
Representative Engle pointed out that an estimated three and a half million people from the Caribbean live in the United States, which accounts for nine percent of the total foreign-born population in the United States.
“And six million people self-identify as members of the Caribbean diaspora in the United States. They represent an extraordinarily rich and vibrant part of the fabric of America that can do so much to make our country stronger and strengthen our ties to countries across the Caribbean,” Engle concluded.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks, in her remarks commended the Family Unification Resettlement Initiative FURI, “for over the past fifteen years " leading the way for the successful re-integration and resettlement of deported persons" into the Jamaican society.”
She described FURI’s work as “a noble undertaking…willingly accepting the mission of healing and restoration of individuals who would otherwise consider themselves as outcasts, thereby affording them a second chance.”
She thanked the group for “partnering with the Government of Jamaica, providing an essential service which ensures that our returned nationals are effectively assimilated into a society which many of those being repatriated do not have strong ties.”
Ambassador Marks pointed out that the Jamaican Government “has been seeking to strengthen the policy, legislative and institutional framework that guides the management and treatment of involuntary returned nationals to Jamaica.
This initiative seeks, among other things, to develop minimum standard operating procedures for the reintegration of returnees and also capacity-building activities for local authorities to address issues concerning these individuals,” she declared.
The Jamaican envoy challenged Jamaicans in the Diaspora, to understand the benefits of becoming citizens of their host countries. She said “as Jamaica recognizes dual citizenship, conferral of citizenship by the Unites States or any other country where our nationals reside, redounds to the benefit of the recipients. It allows you to reap the benefits of citizenship of your host country, thus providing you with greater opportunities to contribute to your respective families and homeland.”
She emphasized, “Jamaicans have the distinction of being strong patriots. However, I think it is incumbent on me as Jamaica's chief envoy to the USA, to underscore to this distinguished audience this evening that becoming a citizen of another country does not make you less Jamaican. Ultimately, it is beneficial to you, your family and our beloved homeland.”
- Countries: United_States