The Bahamas government had explained that undocumented migrant risks deportation after surviving the passage of Hurricane Dorian on September one and now living in Shelters.
The immigration Minister, Elsworth Johnson who dropped the hint during a media chat with The Nassau Guardian newspaper noted that Shelter will not be used “to circumvent the law”.
According to Johnson,” If you’re in a shelter and you’re undocumented and you’re are not here in the right way, you’re still subject to deportation and the enforcement of the immigration laws”.
“Most certainly, those shelters will not be used as a mechanism to circumvent the law. The government of The Bahamas fully appreciates that we are a country of laws. We’re governed by the rule of law.
“There’s an Immigration Act and the Immigration Act is in full effect and the director [of immigration] understands that he must enforce it,” he added.
The Category 5 storm, with winds in excess of 180 miles, smashed into the Bahamas killing at least 56 people and causing widespread destruction mainly on Grand Bahama and Abacos islands respectively.
The government-appointed coordinator of hurricane relief efforts in Abaco, Algernon Cargill, also warned undocumented migrants against plans to relocate back to Abacos Islands. “If you don’t have a purpose of being in Abaco, like to rebuild or relatives and you don’t have any legal status to be in The Bahamas, you should not go to Abaco.
“For example, rumours has it that Haitians are returning to Abaco, correct? So they have no legal status to return to Abaco, so why are they returning to Abaco? So, when we say, ‘people shouldn’t go back’, we’re actually referring to that group.
“They have no status or no reason to be there. You can’t tell Bahamians not to go to Abaco. But if persons who are illegally in The Bahamas, they should not be travelling to Abaco,” Cargill added.
Soon after the hurricane swept through the archipelago, Johnson had announced that the government would not carry out immigration exercises at shelters for hurricane victims.
“Having regarded that we’re now facing a humanitarian crisis, the government is taking the decision that those immigration policies or enforcement measures be suspended forthwith in the affected areas – that’s the Abacos and Freeport, Grand Bahama,” he said then.
But, he told the newspaper that those migrants who have no legal right to be in country face deportation regardless of where they are in the Bahamas.