Trump DACA Suspension Effects on Caribbean Immigrants in America


For the first time in my life I am beginning to feel fearful of government policies.  I am an immigrant now naturalized and I am fearful that if this president continue on his path of discriminatory policies towards all immigrants the country will eventually become isolated from the rest of the world.  This will undoubtably affect the social, economical and political future of every member of society whether citizens, legal or illegal immigrants.

There is a significant amount of Caribbean immigrants living in America.  The 1960s marked the beginning of the acceleration of Caribbean immigration. Starting with fewer than 200,000 in 1960, the Caribbean immigrant population grew significantly over the next couple decades. The population increased 248 percent in the 1960s (to 675,000), 86 percent in the 1970s (to 1.3 million), 54 percent in the 1980s (1.9 million), 52 percent in 1990s (3 million), and another 35 percent between 2000 and 2014 (Zong and Batalova, 2016).

Jong and Batalova stated in a 2016 article published on the Migration Policy website that the uptick in Caribbean immigration was not prompted by the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, instead, the growth had to do with circumstances specific to each country.   For example, migration from Jamaica and other former British colonies was driven by the United States seeking English-speaking workers of varying skill levels such as rural laborers in agriculture or construction to nurses.  A relatively high share of Jamaican immigrants to the United States has consistently been skilled professionals.

The Pew Hispanic Center reported in 2014 that in a research by Robert Warren and John Robert Warren from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the undocumented population of Caribbean immigrants in the U.S. was estimated at around 550,000.  The Caribbean total undocumented population as of 2012 is, however, only broken down by only three countries – the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica, sources of the largest numbers of Caribbean migrants to the U.S.

According to the Pew report, ‘Unauthorized Immigrant Population Trends for States, Birth Countries and Regions,’ there are about 170,000 Dominican Republic nationals living without legal work papers in the U.S. while there are reportedly 110,000 Haitians who are considered undocumented. Jamaicans account for an estimated 100,000 of the unauthorized immigrant population, the Pew data showed.


Although, the Caribbean population  that will be affected does not amount to that of Mexico, it is still a concern because individuals who do not have ties back in their parent country origin may be forced to return.  This may lead to families being split apart or worse case self-inflicted harm due to hopelessness.


Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova, September 14, 2016. Caribbean Immigrants in the United States.  Retrieved on September 5, 2017, from

Felicia Persaud, December 16, 2014.  How Many Undocumented Caribbean Immigrants are in the United States? Retrieved on September 5, 2017, from


Timothy is a staff writer for FiWEH Life, providing commentaries on various topics relating to the Caribbean diaspora with the popular blog "Labba Mout". Timothy has been with FiWEH Life from the very beginning and continues to provide his commentaries on emerging issues.

Leave a Reply