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Invisible Immigrants
Cruise Ship Crew Member

Labeled Ship Jumpers

There has been alot discussion about crew members, where they come from, the lifestyle they are accustomed to, and their background, in general. Cruise Bruise had been critisized for our warning to passengers to not socialize with crew members.

In investigation into the problems associated with cruise ship crew members has revealed a deep problem. The problem has a name, and it is "ship jumpers'. Ship jumpers get hired by a cruise line just for the purpose of jumping ship in the U.S. They have no intention of working for the cruise line, only using them to illegal enter the United States.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol thousand of illegal immigrants gain entry each year by working on a cruise ship or cargo ship.

While the agency checks crew lists, against know criminals, it can't check against those without any record, or quality forged documents.

There are two categories of ship jumpers: absconders, or crew members who do not have permission to leave the vessel at all while it’s in port, and deserters, who do have shore leave, that is, permission to leave the ship.

Deserters are really no different than any other visitor with a non-immigrant visa who overstays that visa. Most crewmembers and the ship itself can stay in an American port up to 29 days.

Where a cruise member feels confident they can fool the U.S. government, their cockiness may also lead them to believe they can commit other crimes onboard, without detection.

This theory is supported by a US Coast Guard publication that says, "The numbers of migrants and nation's of origin are increasing and may continue to rise, because illegal migrants are not deterred by the risk of apprehension."

There is a long history of illegal immigrants to the U.S willing to take extreme risks in order to get to the United States, and remain undetected. Crew members, coming from substandard communities aboard, are not different and shoud be approached with extreme caution.

U.S. Customs, says in one year, they caught 26 ship jumpers in America's busiest port, New Orleans. That is 26 out of the thousands they say move invisibly into the nation each year. They say the gulf coast has always been the destination of choice for rogues, renegades and buccaneers.

In 2004 the U.S. Coast Guard said, "Illegal immigration in the United States is rising, in spite of stringent regulatory statutes." They identify the problem of human smuggling. "Organized smuggling networks have emerged to exploit the lucrative demand to facilitate illegal entry. Illegal immigrants have demonstrated they are adaptive and extremely motivated to enter the country. Many of the foreign and domestic incentives that attract illegal migrants are expected to intensify. If illegal migrants adhere to these tendencies, the nation's vast maritime borders may becomes their path of least resistance."

But, the Coast Guard says that, congressionally mandated reductions in personnel, funding, and resources are reducing its capacity to generate deterrence at sea.

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