By NAN STAFF WRITER
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Oct. 22, 2019: The government of the Bahamas is defending its decision to resume deporting Caribbean undocumented migrants from its country, many of whom are Haitian victims of Hurricane Dorian and has slammed back at the UN’s Office of Migration and Human Rights.
The OHCHR has called on The Bahamas to suspend its immigration enforcement and deportation exercises in the wake of deadly Hurricane Dorian and has expressed concerns about the government’s reversal of position on the issue.
But the government has slammed back that it’s a “nation of law and order” and will enforce the country’s immigration laws either through self-deportation or forcibly.
In a weekend press statement, the Bahamas’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the decision to resume enforcement and deportations was made after “careful analysis, at a time when it was deemed appropriately humane and necessary.”
“The Government of The Bahamas wishes to assure that there was adherence to all due process; and the requisite procedures for proper documentation via captured biometrics were followed to determine every individual’s constitutional right to reside lawfully in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” the statement added. “Persons found wanting and in violation of the Immigration Act were lawfully removed, in accordance with the requisite court orders.”
The government is also going after anyone who may harbor an undocumented immigrant. The Department of Immigration has warned that individuals found harboring undocumented migrants will face up to five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Many Haitians in Abaco lost everything while many lives were also reportedly lost after two of their settlements were completely decimated by the hurricane.
The Bahamas’ immigration policy is harsher than the US. The children of undocumented migrants are stateless since the Bahamas doesn’t grant birthright citizenship and not having a passport bars them from owning land or claiming citizenship.
How To Qualify For Bahamas Citizenship
Automatic Bahamian citizenship is given to persons who are:
Born in The Bahamas to married parents, with either parents being a Bahamian citizen
Born to an un-married Bahamian female in or outside of The Bahamas
Born outside of The Bahamas to a married Bahamian male who was not born outside The Bahamas
Adopted by a married Bahamian male
Adopted by a single Bahamian female.
All other foreign nationals who wish to be afforded the rights, responsibilities, and privileges afforded to Bahamians, and qualify, must apply for citizenship. You can be eligible if you are:
A legal permanent resident in The Bahamas who has had the legal status for 10 years, including the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application, and who has resided in The Bahamas for a minimum of 6 years preceding the 12 months mentioned above.
A female spouse of a Bahamian citizen.
Born in The Bahamas after 9th July, 1973 to Non-Bahamian parents.
A child (adopted or biological) who has at least one Bahamian parent (naturalized or otherwise).
A child born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents.