Venezuelan boy reunited with mother in Trinidad

Three-year-old Jofiel (Center) reunited with his mother, Vanessa (left) after being refused entry into the country with his aunt, Juana (Right)

(Trinidad Guardian) A three-year-old boy, who was among 13 pas­sen­gers re­fused en­try in­to Trinidad and To­ba­go af­ter they came off a flight from Venezuela, was re­unit­ed with his moth­er last night.

La Vene­zolana flight AW1302 ar­rived at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port from Cara­cas around 10.24 am yes­ter­day but up­on ar­rival, im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers re­fused the pas­sen­gers en­try in­to the coun­try.

Dis­traught rel­a­tives who were wait­ing to re­ceive the pas­sen­gers re­lat­ed their sto­ries to Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day evening.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that Jofiel Mi­jares came on the flight with his aunt Jua­na Reyes to meet his moth­er Vanes­sa Reyes to leave for Aus­tralia, where they were grant­ed refugee sta­tus. Speak­ing through a trans­la­tor, his moth­er said she was ex­treme­ly hap­py and re­lieved she was re­unit­ed with him.

An­oth­er woman’s two broth­ers ar­rived on the flight but were sep­a­rat­ed as one was grant­ed en­try while the oth­er was not.

“When they were ready to go to the of­fi­cer, they split them and I sent on­ly one let­ter (of in­vi­ta­tion) for both of them. My broth­er who saw the se­nior of­fi­cer—fine—they did an in­ter­view with him and they gave him three months and then, with the same let­ter, the oth­er of­fi­cer who saw my broth­er… he just de­cid­ed to send him back,” she ex­plained.

They all ex­pressed con­fu­sion as they were not told why they were be­ing re­fused en­try in­to the coun­try.

The Venezue­lan na­tion­als were sched­uled to be sent back to their coun­try of ori­gin but they re­fused, as they were be­ing placed on a flight which was des­tined for Por­la­mar, al­most 500 kilo­me­tres from Cara­cas, where they de­part­ed.

“Now, look at the time, we are here…we’re still here wait­ing for an an­swer be­cause there is no flight to Cara­cas now, the next flight will be next Thurs­day. We have no in­for­ma­tion about what they go­ing to do with them.”

Up to press time, the pas­sen­gers were still at Pi­ar­co await­ing le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion, as they said they had all the nec­es­sary le­gal doc­u­ments to en­ter the coun­try.

Guardian Me­dia tried reach­ing im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials and Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young for com­ment but was un­suc­cess­ful.

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