On Friday, August 19th, 2022, the Court of First Instance rendered its decision denying a request to suspend the decision of the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson regarding the deportation of a former inmate D.J. who previously resided on Sint Maarten legally for a couple of years. J. who is married to a Dutch national whom he has a minor child with, committed a crime for which he was sentenced to prison. During his incarceration, his residence permit expired. A couple of months prior to his early release from prison, he requested an extension of his residence
The permit was denied based on the fact that his wife, who was his guarantor, didn’t earn sufficient income as per the applicable immigration regulations. In addition, he committed a crime for which he was sentenced, and thus in conformity with the Immigration Policy of the Minister, the permit was further denied in the interest of public order. His request was considered a first-time application, as it was not filed up to three months after the expiration of the previous one, thus the processing has to be awaited outside of Sint Maarten.
J’s Attorney Ms. Brenda Brooks submitted an appeal against the denial and the deportation order and simultaneously submitted a suspension request against the deportation order with the travel ban. J. who was detained for two days, cooperated with his deportation prior to the handling of the case by the Court. The suspension request, therefore, was mainly against the travel ban to Sint Maarten for a period of three years. Attorney Brooks argued that J. should be allowed to be able to return to Sint Maarten to his family based on the International Treaty EVRM citing the right to family life. With the deportation order, he is unlawfully prohibited from entry into Sint Maarten for a period of three
years. J. should be able to await the final decision of the Court in his appeal against the denial of his residence permit in Sint Maarten. She argued that J. is the breadwinner, who is capable to earn an income as an experienced Carpenter, has done valuable work in the prison, and was even making money while incarcerated.
On behalf of the Minister of Justice, Attorney Ms. Cindy Marica, explained to the Court that J. is residing in Sint Maarten illegally as his permit expired, his application was lawfully denied, and he is a convict who based on the Immigration Laws of Sint Maarten and on aforementioned grounds had to be deported. The Minister is by law authorized to deny an application (or even revoke an existing residence permit) in the interest of public order in case the applicant committed a crime for which he or she is sentenced. The fact that J. has a family in Sint Maarten under these circumstances is not a decisive factor in the decision of whether or not he was lawfully deported, especially since his wife is not on Sint Maarten for over two months.
Attorney Marica argued that J. should not be allowed back to Sint Maarten as he has brought himself into this situation by committing a criminal act. Moreover, his appeal against the denial of his residence permit would most likely be unsuccessful as his guarantor doesn’t meet the minimum income requirements to act as such. In any event, the processing of his residence permit application should be awaited outside of Sint Maarten as it is a first-time application.
The Court agreed with the arguments made by Attorney Marica on behalf of the Minister of Justice that the deportation order is justified as J. is residing in Sint Maarten illegally. Taking his illegal status and his prior conviction into consideration, and based on the applicable immigration laws, the Court concluded that the Minister’s deportation order was in the interest of public order and the general interest.
The Court furthermore was not convinced that J. has a family life on Sint Maarten with his minor son or wife who has been off-island for the past two months, which has been infringed on by the deportation order. The Court furthermore took into consideration that the appeal lodged by Attorney Brooks against the denial of J’s residence permit application doesn’t appear to have a reasonable chance of success given the motivation of the denial by the Minister. The other arguments of J., right to family life based on article 8 EVRM, and his ability to earn an income were also disregarded by the Court. The Court also was not convinced that there were exceptional humanitarian circumstances
that should result in issuing the requested residence permit. The request of J. to suspend the deportation order with the three-year travel ban to Sint Maarten was therefore denied. All visitors are urged to respect the immigration laws of Sint Maarten. If you plan on residing on the island, you must apply for a residence permit at the Immigration and Border Protection Services.
First-time applicants should not be in Sint Maarten during the processing of their application.
Temporary Residence Permit holders are advised to gather the relevant documentation needed in a timely manner in order to be able to file for their permit extension at least 6 weeks before the expiration date.