Three Cuban migrants were released from the Immigration Detention Centre on Friday, and will be allowed to live in the Cayman community while their applications for asylum are being processed.
Government has not confirmed the conditions of their release, but the Cayman Compass understands that the Cuban migrants have been assigned electronic monitoring devices, an evening curfew and other requirements to make sure they are accounted for.
One of the migrants is staying with a Cuban who was granted asylum earlier this year, the Compass understands.
The release came a day after the Department of Immigration announced that it is “reviewing alternatives” to keeping the 13 asylum-seeking Cuban migrants detained at the Immigration Detention Centre.
The department stated that given the delays in finalizing the detainees’ immigration status – five men in the center have been detained for more than two years, and six others have been detained for more than one year – the acting chief immigration officer has “agreed to review the continued detention of the migrants.”
However, in reviewing their detention, any potential risks posed to the community by their release will be the paramount consideration, the immigration department stated.
Some of the migrants had been conducting a hunger strike in protest of their prolonged detainment as well as the conditions at the detention center. Eight Cubans started the hunger strike, according to government, and four continued to refuse meals as of Thursday. Following discussions with the Human Rights Commissions, the migrants said they had ended the hunger strike by the weekend.
Onsite officers with Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service, who are responsible for facilitating daily routines and security, initiated their protocols for individuals who refused meals last week, which included putting them on hourly watch “while continuing to closely monitor the situation,” the immigration department stated. “Officials stated that doctors will continue to observe their health and safety, and food and water will continue to be offered to the individuals.”
Several migrants, however, disputed the claim that officials had regularly monitored their health throughout the strike.
With three of the migrants having been released Friday, one Cuban told the Compass that the “strike is off” and they “have been eating for a few days” now.