Two children who faced deportation to Honduras in August, possibly being sent back by themselves into an abusive situation, have been allowed to remain in Cayman at least until they reach adulthood, the Immigration Appeals Tribunal has ruled.
“[The Honduran children] were abandoned and abused by the people charged with caring for them, who also did not feed them and refused to send them to school.”
The Cayman Islands Grand Court temporary blocked the initial decision of the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board to deny a request by the mother of the two children, ages 9 and 11, that they be allowed to stay with her in Cayman. The board denied the request on the basis that the woman and her Caymanian husband did not have sufficient financial means to support the children.
The Cayman Compass is not identifying the mother or the children due to the age of the children.
The Immigration Appeals Tribunal, in reviewing the matter, noted that the woman and her husband did have the minimum level of income required to support two dependent children – which was a combined salary of at least $4,500 per month. The tribunal, in its ruling dated Oct. 31, noted the couple earned more than that.
The tribunal also noted that the residency board stated concerns about the “veracity” of the woman’s income, but “did not specify those concerns in any great detail.”
Section 19 of the Cayman Islands Constitution Order  Bill of Rights states that all decisions by any government body must be rational, proportionate, lawful and procedurally fair. The tribunal stated that the board “did not appear to turn its mind to the relevant sections of constitutional law” in making its decision.
According to the tribunal’s ruling, which was provided to the Compass, the mother of the two children can stay and work in Cayman as long as her marriage “remains stable.” Both children can stay until they reach age 18, or up to age 24 if they are pursuing a university education, as their mother’s dependents.
Both children came to Cayman about a year ago, after they were abandoned in their home country, according to court documents filed earlier in the case.
“They were abandoned and abused by the people charged with caring for them, who also did not feed them and refused to send them to school,” according to the request for the initial Grand Court injunction against the ruling of the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board. The attorney representing the family, Amelia Fosuhene, said the relocation of the children to Cayman was necessary to avoid the dangerous, abusive situation they found themselves in.
Ms. Fosuhene told the court there was no one at home in Honduras with whom they could safely stay if they were to return, and the mother – who has been in Cayman for the last four years – had no prospects of employment there or means to take care of herself or her children without her husband’s assistance.
The children are not related by blood to their mother’s Caymanian husband. They are the woman’s children from a previous relationship.
According to court records, the immigration-related boards have a set policy that determines how much an individual must earn to support dependents on their work permit or permanent residence grant. The policy requires earnings of $3,500 per month to support one dependent and an extra $1,000 per month for each additional dependent, the court records indicated.
However, the appeals tribunal seemed to infer that these figures might differ on a case-by-case basis, noting that “in this particular instance” a combined salary of $3,500 per month for one dependent and an additional $1,000 for each additional dependent had been set.
“It is noted that this is a policy [of the boards] and not a legal requirement set down in any primary legislation,” the initial injunction application states.
“The board has issued a blanket, one-size-fits-all policy which can at best be described as discriminatory when determining this application,” Ms. Fosuhene’s submission to the Grand Court states. “The … policy falls foul of the Cayman Islands Constitution [Order 2009] in that it will automatically and disproportionately discriminate against those who come to work within the Cayman Islands from predominantly non-white jurisdictions. In addition, the policy disproportionately affects those who are deemed to be from a lower social origin and because they may have less by way of property.”