INQUIRER: Signs of Jamaica abound at the Penn Relays, the 116-year-old track-and-field festival held each April in Philadelphia. Food carts sizzle with jerk chicken. Fans sporting the green, yellow, and black of the Caribbean nation’s flag sit together at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field, and roar. Each year about 40 teams are drawn from more than two dozen Jamaican high schools, with an additional four to six club teams composed of older runners. Now, however, it seems that some Jamaicans who applied for visas to compete in the Relays in years past were “mala fide applicants . . . disguising themselves as student athletes” in order to immigrate illegally, according to a 2008 cable to the State Department from the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston. The cable was unearthed by WikiLeaks in late May and later flagged in the Philadelphia blog “Phawker.” MORE
PHAWKER: Not sure what’s up with the airquotes, but we’ll take it. And word to Philly.com, a link-thru is the courtesy flush of the Internet. Hint, hint.
U.S. EMBASSY KINGSTON JAMAICA: The Penn Relays track and field meet in April of each year is a major athletic event that is a significant cultural milestone for many young Jamaican athletes. Hundreds of high school and university students apply for visas each spring to attend the meet. However, many mala fide applicants apply for visas to attend the meet as well, disguising themselves as student athletes. MORE
RELATED: In January, FPU intercepted a group of sixteen performers who had close ties to the Caribbean Alliance Group, a petitioner known to FPU to have associations with drug trafficking. While this group of performers had applied under a new petition, many of the group had previously traveled for Caribbean Alliance Group and the bona fides of their previous travel could not be established. Most of the group could not give convincing answers about their upcoming tour, so the group was refused and their ties to the suspect petitioner were documented. MORE