Amid the political chaos in the US, Trinidadians stranded in the US due to the closure of Trinidad and Tobago’s borders are fearful of what is happening and want to come home.
This is according to Trinidad-born community activist in New York, Karen Lee-Ghin who, in a telephone interview with the Express on Wednesday evening, called for greater action in repatriating desperate T&T citizens.
On Wednesday, a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol in Washington, DC, as members of Congress and the Senate met to certify the 2020 US presidential election.
Clashes between Trump supporters and police ensued, and a curfew was called in the area. Four deaths were recorded and there were several injuries.
Lee-Ghin told the Express the clashes pose a threat to the safety of vulnerable stranded nationals who are caught in the midst of these events.
“Today in Georgia we had senate elections in which the Republican (candidate) lost. The state was won by a Democrat, meaning the Senate will be controlled by the Democrats. As someone who has been providing assistance to these stranded nationals, I fear that the growing political unrest will become a source of further stress to those who are anxious to return to their homes,” she said.
Lee-Ghin, who has actively supported a number of stranded Trinidad and Tobago nationals, told of at least 35 nationals who are in the US awaiting exemptions.
Some of these, she said, have been isolated from their families, are homeless and dependent on generous citizens to survive.
As the US faces its own turmoil, she questioned why Trinidadians should be denied the right to return to their country.
“With tensions rising, it poses a threat to those who have expired immigration status, those who have been driven out of relatives’ homes and are in vulnerable circumstances.
“It is a fearful thing to be in a foreign country, where you have no rights. This is a threat to their safety. Right now I have asked for delayed filing on behalf of these persons who have expired immigration status and no way of sourcing the required extension funding. Some have been depending on food from soup kitchens and charitable organisations to survive,” said Lee-Ghin.
“People who were in the prior protests in the US told me they were afraid because they are already stressed and it is a new experience. They are experiencing external political turmoil while you are already facing these hardships. They can’t get help because they are not citizens here,” she added.
She asked that more effort be put into the repatriating of nationals to avoid further distress.
“I want to make an appeal to the Government to say the US is in turmoil right now. Trinidadians here do not need to further endure this... please bring them home. There is nothing in this for me. I am not asking this to gain something. People are calling me for assistance and I cannot turn a blind eye to them, and that is my only motivation in helping them. Please, let them come home,” she said.