Marriage rights for refugees being considered

Law does not currently grant rights to asylum spouses

A Cayman asylum grant stamp, which establishes the right to reside and work in Cayman. Until now, however, the right to marry has not been guaranteed for refugees in Cayman.

Customs and Border Control is reviewing possible amendments to the section of Cayman Islands law covering asylum, following months of demonstrations by Cuban protesters over government’s denial of refugee marriage rights.

The amendments would seek to resolve a legal oversight in the Customs and Border Control Law, 2018 that has prevented asylum grantees in Cayman from adding a spouse to their immigration status.

“We can confirm a CBC Deputy Director met with the Cuban migrant who was leading the  protest and have advised that the amendments to the CBC Law are currently being reviewed and recommendations for amendments are expected to be presented for consideration in the coming weeks,” government wrote the Cayman Compass Friday evening.

The agency did not confirm the scope of amendments to be made.

At issue is section 111(3) of the CBC Law, which establishes that successful asylum applicants may add to their status a dependent child under the age of 18 who is already present on island. The section does not mention a spouse.

That exclusion has forced spouses of refugees, granted the right to permanently reside and work in the Cayman Islands, to remain on repeatedly extended visitor visas. The issue has prevented spouses from working or seeking benefits.

The conflict reached a boiling point on Wednesday, when three protesters were arrested outside the Government Administration Building and detained alongside a baby at the Prisoner Detention Centre at Fairbanks.

While the protests had not previously encountered problems, last week’s heavy rains disrupted the demonstration and the group clashed with a security guard when seeking shelter near the government building.

The following day, CBC met with two of the protesters, who said an official gave his word that the issue would be resolved by next month.

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