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Mitchell Hits Back Over Immigration Rules

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration yesterday defended the government’s recently announced immigration restrictions for children, stressing that they were in accordance with the Immigration Act and a part of the Christie administration’s wider policies.

Last week, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell revealed the government’s plans to require all non-Bahamian students, even those born here to immigrant parents, to have a student permit for the fall semester or a passport with a residency stamp.

The announcement has come under scrutiny from political observers, local human rights activists and was highlighted as a “tough” policy in the Saturday edition of the New York Times. Some observers have said the requirement will make it harder for children of immigrants to access education.

However, in a statement released yesterday, the ministry pushed back at the criticism, but revealed that immigration and education officials will meet soon to facilitate the new requirement for children.

“A permit to reside in the Bahamas is currently held by thousands of children in this country who are non-Bahamians,” the ministry said in a statement.

“That is the law. The Immigration Act says without distinction that everyone who is in the Bahamas who is not a Bahamian should have something which shows they have a right to reside or a right to work in The Bahamas.

“This applies to children and adults without distinction. The minister’s statement at the Outlook Seminar reminds all who do not have such a permit that they should get one for their children.

“With regard to whether it is prohibitive or not, that is a matter for the (Ministry of) Education authorities. Nothing the minister said spoke to the remit of the education authorities. He spoke only what the law on immigration says. The law requires every non-Bahamian to have a permit. The law also requires every child under the age of 16 to be in school. The law says that where the Immigration Act conflicts with other acts, the Immigration Act prevails. However, in the past the Ministry of Education and the Immigration Department have worked hand in hand administratively to deal with particular cases. There should be no different expectation, but the generality of the law should be enforced.

“The Ministry of Education and the Department of Immigration and the respective ministers are meeting shortly on the administrative issues for the public school system and the Department of Immigration will facilitate the granting of permits to children of all lawful residents.”

On Sunday, former Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette told The Tribune that making it harder for children of immigrants to get an education could create a slippery slope that results in a myriad of long-term social problems for Bahamians.

“The FNM’s philosophy was to make sure all children had access to schools and medical facilities, to make sure no illegal was apprehended on the way to church, school and hospitals because we expect that persons in the country should be educated and healthy,” Mr Symonette said. “We were one of the few countries in the Caribbean that did it this way.”

“With this new policy, I’m nervous that you are going to drive people away from school. They won’t leave the Bahamas and you will have an uneducated, unhealthy section of the population that may lead to more anger and issues that could harbour crime.”

Human rights activists Fred Smith and Joseph Darville have condemned the new restrictions for children.

“I am appalled at the new and most shameful depth to which Minister Mitchell has sunk with the announcement that he will target the most innocent and vulnerable among us,” Mr Darville said recently.

Mr Smith, the most vocal critic of the government’s immigration policy, said Mr Mitchell’s newly announced requirement is a “vile and cowardly tactic of seeking to deny children of the right to an education.”

On November 1, 2014 the government introduced a wider immigration policy that, among other things, required every non-Bahamian living in the country to have a passport of their nationality with proof of their status to live and work in the Bahamas.

It is said that the new policy unfairly targets Haitians.

Comments

Economist 5 years ago

We are the ones who allowed the people to come here and have children here. Our Constitution gives persons born here the right to become citizens at the age of 18.

The students should not be punished by us because we failed to stop their parents coming here 15 or 20 years ago. They should not be punished by us because we are slack. We have to pay the price for letting this get to the crisis that it is today.

We want to be an independent nation but we don't want the responsibility that goes along with it. The responsibility of defending our own boarders. We have the equipment, we just don't use it.

The children have been in school for years and immigration could have been making proper investigations for years BUT THEY DID NOT.

You need to ask why, who is responsible? It is not the children.

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jackbnimble 5 years ago

You are right. it is not the children. It is their ILLEGAL parents who are popping them out and sending them (among other things) to school to learn English.

All the Government (not Minister Mitchell) is doing is asking that (in accordance with the Immigration Act) all non-Bahamians (including the children) have some sort of papers to show they have the right to reside here. I'm sorry but this does not translate into children of illegals. If the parents are ILLEGAL, then so are the children and as go the parents, so go the children.

I just wish they would once and for all fix this damned Constitution so that the right to "apply for citizenship" is not granted to children of illegals. It's resulting in the dilemma we now have where children of illegals feel they have some right to citizenship and hence the right to reside. How can one reside in a country 'illegally' and then assert rights to its highest benefit of citizenship? The premise of your entry is by breaking the law - the same law that you now assert gives you the right to reside. #constantlyamazed

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GrassRoot 5 years ago

well you know the answer to that one. if the parents with illegal status file for school permits for their kids, guess what happens. The systems builds on the thought that they will scoop up the parents and then the whole family gets shipped out. This right to apply for citizenship when you are 18 if you are born in the Bahamas is a joke. The ones that will make it to the finish line will in the future not even know how to read or write.

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jackbnimble 5 years ago

What a lot of people don't realize is that the illegals are using their children for pawns. Frankly, they don't mind being deported but they want the children to stay for a so-called better life. Reminder that when the raids first started in November 2014, a lot of these parents were running off and leaving the children as they also did in past raids under Loftus Roker and many of those children back them were educated and have migrated into our society and are the full grown 'descendants of Haitians' we see today.

What the Government is trying to do is nip that aspect of 'illegal immigration' - and it is ILLEGAL - in the butt by enforcing the law that even the children should have papers. It's on the books and in my view should have been enforced a long time ago.

We have to discourage the illegal adults who the perpetrators of the crime.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If there's nothing to get, then there's nothing to come for. No free education, no free health care and ultimately NO citizenship for illegals - children included.

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

Mr. Mitchell stop targeting innocent children! Shame on you and the disgrace you will bring on this country with this shortsighted, ignorant policy. Are we not better than this as a nation?This policy is unbahamian, immoral, and violates the un treaty we have signed guaranteeing open and free access to education for all within our country's border regardless of nationality or status. This immoral policy will lead to even greater social ills, with a permanently present but hidden class of uneducated people with no means of sustaining themselves other than crime. It is already creating an international blight on the good reputation of the Bahamas. Do we want this? is this really in our best interest? By all means target the illegal parents who by their decision came here illegally, but for God's sake and ours leave innocent children alone.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Did you read and comprehend what you were reading? Children are not being targeted. They are being required to have the necessary paperwork needed to attend school in a foreign country. Countries do this. This is not a novel Bahamian approach designed specifically for Haitians.

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

Call it by whatever euphemism you like to assuage your conscience. But the intent of this policy is clear, it is targeting children, with the consequence of creating an even larger unemployable, illiterate underclass with no means of survival than crime. Wise up Bahamas.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

My conscience is clear..no worries there. I am simply stating a fact. You are the one who seems to be suffering from some emotional trauma. If you want your emotions to run wild with fantasies of kids being "targeted" and demonizing a basic law that most countries have...be my guest.

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GrassRoot 5 years ago

well how are the kids supposed to file for paperwork without their parents? It is just a dishonest way the government goes about. If you don't want them say it, scoop them up and send them home. Don't be halfhearted about the kids. The government has to figure out how they want to treat kids that are born in the Bahamas and have no passport.

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spoitier 5 years ago

How do you determine who is illegal and who is not? A lot of people in the Bahamas has French names that are legal Bahamians and a lot of Bahamians have high cheek bones, so tell me how do you differentiate who is legal?

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TheMadHatter 5 years ago

Grassroot: You obviously missed the article a couple months ago when the immigration officers took the child who was abandoned at home with the stove left on when the parents ran away during a raid. The immigration were accused of taking children away without their parents. Now you say take them away?

You see, there is nothing immigration can do that doesn't "look" bad. It is a tough situation and the answer is simply tough. Few had anything to say about the parents that ran off and left the kid in the house with a lit stove that may have caught fire.

You keep on worrying about those "kids". They are going to grow into adults and have more kids - and will before long be the majority in this country. Our country works by majority rule - and they are well aware of that. They will rule. A Haitian PM is not far in our future.

If you want a Haitian ruler, you can have one. Fill out your papers and apply for citizenship in Haiti. When you get approved, let me know and I will personally pay for the one-way plane ticket to get you there.

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Comrade Don Anthony, I remember well, it was while Brent's father "Pop' Symonette was our first Premier, I was a student at the mainly white students and faulty Queen's College on Village Road and three of my 'innocent' sugar white foreigner schoolmates parents were targeted by the UBP white government, to register with the white controlled immigration department and and to pay for white students permits. Now, bloggers are calling people racists and Minister Freddy undemocratic. That he's out get Haitians, when it is the now estimated at 160,000 illegal Haitians who have themselves by far become Bahamaland's largest number of illegal immigrants. How can the Minister be faulted, when it is the illegal who brought their children with them or gave birth on Bahamaland's soil, all at the costly expense the taxpayers public treasury? Are you bloggers suggesting, we the people - do nothing, therefore forfeiting our nation over to the illegally unappreciative? And, in case you missed it, 'we the people' was intended to mean, exactly what it means.
Forfeiting a nation is not going happen so easily on either Minister Freddy's or Comrade Tal's watch.
Had consecutive governments since Premier "Pop" Symonette's days, not contributed to the number of illegal becoming 160,000, there would have been no out of control illegal immigration for his son Brent to attack Minister Freddy about.

Finally, we can ALL say an Amen and Amen to Minister Freddy!!

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Economist 5 years ago

But tell us how this is going to get the 160,000 illegals to go home? Or how this is going to regularize anything? Or how this is going to stem the flow of more illegal immigrants?

This is just small band aid that stops nothing.

You are correct 160,000 illegals is a nightmare. Where is the overall plan to correct this?

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Comrade I have heard the same argument that crime has become too out control for, we the people' do do anything about. The parents and grandparents who raised many of us, will never, never, never buy into that defeatist attitude. Comrade our nation's exit door was never intended for 'we the people' but feel free use it.

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Economist 5 years ago

I am the one who wants to see a solution to the whole problem of illegals.

Let's use this as an opportunity to come up with ideas that will work. I am not defeatist, far from it, I have written in a manor in the hope that it will prod persons into discussing our immigration policy, as a whole.

I want to stop the leak. Will you help?

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spoitier 5 years ago

You are right. Most of the focus should be on better technology to curb those that are coming or else you would be paying for transportation to deport folks out of your backside for a long time. No sense in just sending 100 home and then have a 100 replace those in a few weeks

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TheMadHatter 5 years ago

Spoitier - yes it is tough to pay for 100 to be deported to only be replaced by 100 more coming in.

That is a part of the point of these new policies. To make it difficult to live here as an illegal. RIght now, via the telephone and Internet, Haitians in Haiti are well aware of how easy it is to come to the Bahamas and live. If you are Haitian - you get free everything. And if anybody questions you or tries to stand in your way - they are called a racist and are probably guilty of violating some U.N. Treaty that says that Haitians are better than Jesus Christ and simply cannot be touched.

They know that.

That is why they risk life and limb to come here. The Bahamas says COME HERE AND TAKE ALL THAT WE HAVE. You are better than us, and we deserve nothing and you deserve all. Nobody and nothing can stand in your way. Come right away, don't delay.

These new policies have already been heard about all over the land of Haiti. They are hearing that the Bahamas is waking up. Of course Haitians already here are trumpeting the call for us to go back to sleep. They are saying stop abusing these poor innocent defenseless Haitians - who have nothing and are merely trying to earn a living for their poor desperate families.

You can keep believing that if you want.

This is a war financed by the Haitian Govt. The sloops bring in cold hard cash and it is distributed by the generals to the troops to buy baby food and anything that they need to accomplish their goal, which is...

Majority Rule.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

It is no wonder that time and again The Bahamas finds itself back to the same point of sitting in silence and being unable to resolve the illegal immigration crisis. Anytime a possible solution is presented, emotions and those with vested interests, do their best to beat down policies intended to curb the situation. It will take strong policies to correct the problem that has ballooned way out of control. That is a fact. I hope the Ministry of Immigration follows through on this. If not, when the country finally busts at the seams, I hope that as defenders of illegal immigration that you too, will be passionately defended to the detriment of native citizens in your host countries.

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Economist 5 years ago

Even if they follow through it will solve nothing.

If your boat is leaking, you can bail water for as long as you like, but if you don't stop the leak, you will always be bailing.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

We won't know until it is tried.

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

No one is defending illegal immigration, we are just saying there is a smarter more humane way of dealing with this problem. If we are honest it is us as Bahamians who hire illegals, well not me because I never have in my life but can you and most Bahamians say the same? We created this problem. An effective, just solution is to require all companies as a part of their business license renewal to provide a list of all employees with accompanying documentation as to their immigration status. Then have huge fines for these companies, which escalate with each subsequent offense to enforce the law. Multiple violations and the firm loses their business license. it could work if we would just enforce the law and it would be moral and humane and not target innocent children.

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Comrade you're way over your head on this immigration topic. What in hell do you think is National Insurance. Oh yeah, the160,000 illegals are like the numbers rackets boys who during the referendum claimed to employ 5000 workers but NIB only had records 700, who also didn't believe in contributing toward patients visits to PMH and taxpayers funded public clinics. I guess why not just regularize' the 160,000 illegals, after all, didn't we do that for the numbers rackets boys?

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licks2 5 years ago

You do know that your reasoning skills look like you cant chew gum and walk the same time?? This effort is a national effort man.

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Economist 5 years ago

I am one who wants to see a solution to the whole problem of illegals.

Let's use this as an opportunity to come up with ideas that will work. I am not defeatist, far from it, I have written in a manner in the hope that it will prod persons into discussing our immigration policy, as a whole.

Can we have a non-political discussion of what we want The Bahamas to look like 5, 10 15, and 20 years out? How should we shape our immigration policy to achieve this?

What steps should we take, and how, and when should they be implemented?

I want to stop the leak of illegal immigrants. Will you help?

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TheMadHatter 5 years ago

Economist: The time of "ideas" is over. The time for action is now.

If you have a brilliant solution - post it on facebook so everyone can consider it. In the meantime, we will be happy having a non-brilliant solution and that our stars that we have any kind of solution instead of nothing.

I am so proud of Min. Mitchell for DOING SOMETHING.

My fear is, that as a man that is doing something instead of just talking - they will probably take away his politicians license - LOL.

Min. Mitchell please keep up the good work !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are so many Bahamians who support you but are afraid to say so for fear of losing their job or some other tangled web of status that they are enslaved in by these immigrants.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

The response needs to be aggressive all around. So many are up in arms about the so-called plight of these children that these parents made the decision to have, knowing the precarious nature of their situation. The children will continue to go to school as long as they are here, but the school registration process is a good means of documenting the numbers and I support the government's right to do so.

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Economist 5 years ago

Agreed, so the question is what should be the first step?

For me, I would like to see the large Defence Force Boats sent to Inagua to patrol the waters near the coast of Haiti and to turn vessels carrying illegals back to Haiti. The Defence Force should also station one or more of its aircraft there to patrol the open waters and guide the Defence Force Boats to vessels coming out of Haiti.

We already have the boats and the man power. They are tied up in Nassau (two hundred miles to the north) most of the time.

Any other ideas for a first step?

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Emac 5 years ago

Economist, Economist-You simply blurting out anything without having any hands-on knowledge about the extent of this situation. Apparently, you are another commenter who only sees this problem from one side. You keep alluding to the fact that the government and or the Bahamian people have allowed this problem to swell to the extent it has. You see the immigration department at least trying to bring some resolve and you yet call it ineffective. I have known the Haitian population for years. I have first-hand knowledge about their thinking, the way they live, and how they go else where whenever they feel they cannot get something for free. "The Defence Force should also station one or more of its aircraft there to patrol the open waters and guide the Defence Force Boats to vessels coming out of Haiti." Are you kidding me??? DO you think that they can just go into Haiti's water and do that??? Are you trying to get our officers killed? Trust me, the approach that being used by the immigration department is the best thing that came from that department in the last 10 years. Oh, and I am speaking objectively. I have at least 3 Haitian employees with valid work permits, so I know!

People stop running on with talks about Haitian children being targeted just because the government decides to finally enforce policies that have been around for year. DO your research before spurting out emotional bullshit!

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birdiestrachan 5 years ago

The policy will not stop children from going to school, their parents will have to pay for a student visa. I understand it will be a yearly fee. those who wish to cause trouble says it will stop children from attending school. that is not so. Many are miss informed and say the people are so poor. there are poor Bahamians also. and I have always been told CHARITY begins at home. Let us help our poor Bahamian people first. because there will be no one to help them if we do not. we do not get millions and millions of AID from any Country on Gods green earth. Fred Smith says it is thousands. I would really like to know how many there are. This will be a good way to find out.

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Economist 5 years ago

I did not say Haitian Waters. International waters, just as the US Coast Guard did in the 1990's. Just off the coast would be as close as 20 miles.

Haiti's largest vessels are 40 feet long in poor shape and poorly armed. Our vessels are new and some over 200 feet. I have checked my facts.

By they way, they used 2 cutters. They were only about 20 feet longer than our Defence Force Boats.

Unless you stem the flow the problem will continue.

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Economist 5 years ago

By the way the four new ones are 138 feet. Remember the $200 million mentioned last year.

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Economist 5 years ago

I have double checked the length of HMBS Nassau and HMBS Bahamas and see that they are just under, not over, 200 feet at 198 feet long.

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ProfessorTinker 5 years ago

The bottom line here with this entire immigration flip flop, makes the Bahamas government look like they are out of control. Everything thing that Mitchell is doing from a legal position is illegal. Government can't and should not enforce laws base on policy. Policies are not laws. Everything Mitchell is doing can be strike down in Bahamian Courts because it was unlawful and it is not the law o the land. Mitchell is a lawyer and YA think he should know this. Unless he just doesn't care and will let Christie take the slack for it then he is strategic. He did say “Christie Administration Policies."

No position of the government should supersede the constitution of the Bahamas because that is all we got. I don’t mind the government turning polices into law and then enforcing it because they did it the right way. But I don’t want t the Bahamas to suffer from the international criticism because the government is acting out side of the law. Because the internationally community is looking at the laws on the books compared to what the government is doing.

“Before the Fact” Ya can’t do something before Ya make the law. It will be dismissed.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

What policy is the immigration department enforcing that is not law?

Illegal immigrant kids not automatic citizens? Requiring immigrants, including kids, to have documents stating their status? Acting on tips on the whereabouts of illegal immigrants, and taking them into custody if unable to prove legal status? These laws existed but were not enforced.

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spoitier 5 years ago

It will be pretty expensive to send them all back, couple with the fact that about 75% will be back in 1-2 years.

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SP 5 years ago

It is much more expensive to allow them to stay, educate, medical care, social services, crime, jobs, repatriations etc.

Send all the dam Haitians back to Haiti. They are an expensive pain in the ass we do not need!

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Comrade ProfessorTinker you must not know the minister is not calling for schools to assist in detaining students or their parents for breaches under the immigration law. All government schools, not unlike privately funded schools, are permitted to set their own admission polices of admittance to the school. If a parent thinks their child has been done wrong by the school, they can sue in civil court, exactly as was done by the parents of the students cancellation of the graduating students prom night. Public schools are taxpayers funded and the minister works for taxpayers. Right? Therefore, how then can you even suggest that a school's admission policies would be illegal, if their employer, the government (taxpayers) enforced defined admission policies? I believe the civil suit against the school by the parents was either dismissed or decided in favour of the school?

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Emac 5 years ago

@spoitier-You are correct. About 75% will be back in that time frame. Unfortunately for the Bahamas, whenever we try to enforce the law or policies on one side, the other side allows these policies to be compromised through corruption. So the truth is, the enforcement of these new policies can never be 100% effective without first stamping out corruption in the various government departments. But I say, dare to dream!

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DEDDIE 5 years ago

I actually don't think the policy was properly thought off. At present you can send a child back to Haiti along with his parent because both the parent and child are illegal. It gets a bit more complicated if you give the child a visa which cements his/hers right to be here. It further begs the question if a child is legitimately here and is in need of guardianship and the parent is the the legal guardian shouldn't the parent also have the seem status as the child.

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clawdad 5 years ago

you wanna stop them from comming,stop giving them jobs

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TalRussell 5 years ago

The answer is, if you deport the mother her child should automatically be deported with her at the same time. It should never be the responsibility of a Bahamaland state to accept responsibility for raising a child of an illegal national, regardless of their parents homeland. A child must accompany the mother regardless, if they're 1\an infant or 17 years old and at attaining the age of 18, and if born here, can make application for citizenship. But citizenship is NOT a guarantee.

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Economist 5 years ago

Article 6 of The Constitution states "Every person born in The Bahamas after July 9th 1973 shall be a citizen of The Bahamas at the date of his birth if at that date either of his parents is a citizen of The Bahamas."

This means that if the mother is Haitian and the farther is Bahamian or the mother is Bahamian and the farther is Haitian then you can't kick the child out because they are Bahamian citizens. Looks like you will still have a large number of children of Haitian decent in school.

So trying to mess with the children is, in large part, a distraction from the fact that we don't know what we are doing.

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Comrade you sure are funny. Do the math we do not deport 42 year-old babies? Ha Ha

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Cas0072 5 years ago

Is someone trying to deport Haitian/Bahamian offspring? if the Bahamian parent is lax in getting their own children registered as Bahamians, then it is their mess to clean up. Where is the responsibility on the part of the parents, either the Bahamian or the Haitian in your scenario? Comments like yours serve as a distraction to any solution because you are throwing in atypical scenarios as if it were the standard. Interjecting beliefs that have not been expressed in this pending policy is exactly why illegal immigrants are able to continue to lay low and circumvent responsibility for their actions. The Bahamas is not even in a place economically to deport all illegals, and the children will continue to go to school in the meantime. I see nothing wrong with attempting to account for who is in the country.

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Economist 5 years ago

By the way, still waiting for one or more bloggers, here, to give non-political and legally practical suggestions of how to solve our illegal immigrant problem.

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TheMadHatter 5 years ago

The policy came into place on Oct 1st that EVERYONE has to have a passport of their nationality (and if not bahamian passport - then residency stamp or work permit or visitors permit or whatever).

Answer : START having unannounced raids on at least 2 places per week on every island. 7 busloads of immigration and police officers pull up to a gas station on Carmichael Road - or Prince Charles - or any road - and hop out and surround the whole place and search inside and outside every closet every cubby hole and ever single person found no matter what they look like are asked to produce their passport with (if needed) supporting documents (photocopies of passport and documents are acceptable if the copies show all important info including pictures and id numbers) or if tourists they can say what hotel they are staying at and calls can be made to the hotel to confirm their identify and they can state their date of birth or whatever to confirm what is on the hotel's photocopy of their ID on file.

Those who do not have such copies in their purse or back pockets or wherever - even if they are clearly a Bahamian, known to some of the officers - are taken to the detention center for processing until their family members bring documents or phone calls are made to the office to confirm their identity and legal status.

A couple of these raids and all Bahamians will start carrying copies of their documents, and others too.

Then we can separate the wheat from the chaffe.

TheMadHatter

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Economist 5 years ago

TalRussell You do the math. Any person born after 9th July 1973. That means everyone born AFTER i.e.right up to today. How many in the last 17 years? Do the math. Ha Ha

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Regardless, my Comrade by what you perceive as facts we are only talking about student permits for those who would require permits. Because you're a holder of a student's permit or residency papers is not a barrier to deportation.Once we can move away from the falsehood being peddled by those who'd you would think should know better, the quicker we can put that big lie to rest.

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DEDDIE 5 years ago

MadHatter, if we follow your suggestion 90 % of the Bahamian population would be at the detention center. Who carries around a passport. A large percentage of the population don't have a passport thus no document to prove they are citizens. To prove they are citizens they would have to produce their and their parents birth certificate and if their parents was born before 1940 it becomes that more tedious to locate one.

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Economist 5 years ago

Policy is NOT law. See the article titled "Officer: I was bitten and kicked" in this same issue of the Tribune.

Any new law will have to comply with normal world standards as well. I am not a Human Rights expert, but I suspect you will find that these raids violate the rights of the people.

We will have to do this on a proper investigative way that follows legal principals.

We my be an independent country, and that put us on the world football field and, whether we like it or not, we must play by the rules that the world has made, or get penalized.

With the above in mind, let us try to consider how we should proceed.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

The department of immigration is well within its right to conduct raids, and act on tips generated by the public regarding the location of illegal immigrants. Similarly, the police department is also within its right to act on tips of other criminal activity and conduct raids.

How else are they to locate the undocumented, unidentified illegal immigrants? By searching the department database which they failed to register upon their illegal docking, and illegal establishment of residency, in the Bahamas?

I am not a human rights expert either. However, the sovereign right of the Bahamas to protect its borders and its citizens should supersede the inconvenience caused to these individuals.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

While Fred Mitchell has clearly stated where the policy lies within the context of international laws and The Bahamas obligation to educate all children in the country, many of you detractors are going off about laws being broken but have not pointed out where? The government should be held to task wherever the law is violated. I simply do not see where that is taking place.

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Economist 5 years ago

I think that you will find that immigration has been over stepping it powers and, if challenged will find themselves guilty of false imprisonment.

Remember the case of Harvey Tynes, were the police were found guilty of wrongful arrest and false imprisonment? It cost the Government thousands of dollars in damages.

Immigrants don't like to sue the Government but, with the way immigration is acting, an action is probably not far away.

Ispeakthetruth, you have been listening to the politicians propaganda for to long. "We are a sovereign nation, we can do anything." This has never been the case.

As a nation we have to play by a set of rules. We have rights but they are limited. Whatever you want to do MUST comply with what the world allows.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Economist, I do not subscribe to politics or the views of politicians at all. My opinions are always based on my experiences, common sense, education and in this case, concern for the Bahamas. Your views seem to come from a place of extreme bias.

Wrongful convictions, and resulting payouts, is not unique to the Bahamas. It happens because all legal systems are flawed, and sometimes the innocent suffer. It's unfortunate, but it happens.

We cannot do as we please as a nation, I never said that. And the Bahamas clearly does not do that. However, we can detain unidentified persons living in this country as long as it takes to identify them...because it's also a matter of national security. If you would feel better about it, the US Department of Homeland security does the same. Remember 9/11?

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Emac 5 years ago

Ya can't argue with the two bloggers who have Haitian background on this matter. They will never agree to any policy that tries to control illegal migrants in the Bahamas. This is because they feel these policies are directed at the 'poor' Haitian people. It seems mighty strange that you don't hear any complaints from other nationalities concerning these policies. The sad fact is that those of Haitians descendent will always oppose any law and order in any country. Take their own country for example: Burning tire and throwing stones at the palace and or government buildings is the norm. Stupid! Sorry folks, I make no apologies for calling it the way the it is. I say take that shit back to where you come from. We already have enough of our own social problems to deal with!

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

The ignorance of some of these bloggers never ceases to amaze me, and you are at the top of the list. You incorrectly assume that because I advocate a basic human right of freedom to be be educated that I am of Haitian decent. Nothing could be farther from the truth, my ancestors on my paternal and maternal side all descend from Long Island. Which is one of the few Bahamian islands with no Haitian presence whatsoever. In fact I am a so called "conchy joe" who is a 5 th generation descendant of the loyalist who founded Clarencetown. So your previous comment is an absolute lie. I doubt an apology would be forthcoming from you, it will be easier to wallow in your ignorance, try not to drown because your pool of it is very deep. There are many decent people in this country who would like this illegal immigrant situation finally dealt with, I am one, but it must uphold basic human rights and stop targeting defenseless children.

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licks2 5 years ago

Boy I sure do suggest that you read the CRC because you obviously don't know what is contained within that document!! As for targeting children, do you know that the policy of not sending parent and leave their child in UN charter ratified by the Bahamas?? How do you want it. . .damn if we don't send parents back. . .damn if we send children with their parents as demanded by UN charter!! Clearly you have no cogent and honest, well thought out response. . .thus peoples see your unreasonable biases coming through!! Think now. . .is it also a basic human right to no be unfairly allowed in a school in your own country because another child of another nation. . .in your nation illegally is sitting in the seat?

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Economist 5 years ago

Just want to make it clear that I have no Haitian background, far from it. I do not advocate for Haitians either. But I want us to have the best country in the world in all aspects.

This is why I keep asking for solutions. Yes immigration can detain and deport, but they must do it in accordance with the law, which in many cases they are not doing so at the moment.

Further we, as a country, need a clear path as to how we solve the problem of illegal immigration.

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Emac 5 years ago

Ahhh... no one said Economist had Haitian background. However, those of you who do have Haitian background never identify yourself anyways. Nothing to be ashamed of, we all come from somewhere. The problem is that Haitians are the ones with the biggest mouths and make the least contributions in this country. And don't tell me they help build this country. They did not work pro bono . If the Bahamas was a poor country ( and we're heading there), we wouldn't have this problem with immigration.

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Emac 5 years ago

@Economist-"Further we, as a country, need a clear path as to how we solve the problem of illegal immigration." There will always be some resentment when it comes to any new law or policy regarding immigration reform. What most of these illegal Haitians want is to become regulated and or have access to citizenship. Yet when they do become citizens, they still call them selves Haitian, they have little or no regards for Bahamian culture, they never try to rise above the standards of the little dirty villages and shitting on people's property. Sorry, no country spits out citizenship or permits to every Thomas, Pierre and Lubin. It would be the downfall of the Bahamas.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Agreed. If the intention was to integrate and become Bahamian they would at the very least learn the language and exhibit a more reconciliatory attitude toward their new country. However, many come with a sense of entitlement and years later barely speak English because the intent is to build, and grow, a little Haiti in the Bahamas. If the Bahamas' economy plummets, they will not stick around to rebuild. They will move on to the next stop, even the so-called Haitian Bahamians.

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SP 5 years ago

..... Governments policy referred to by Fred Mitchell is absolutely the right thing to do ......

Bahamas has a serious illegal Haitian immigrant infestation that requires all the teeth it can muster to get the 50 year old problem under control.

YES.... Target Haitians because they are by far the biggest illegal immigrant grouping that are causing the most problems in our education system, blue collar unemployment, social services, medical care and the greater economy in general.

We cannot be afraid to name our targets and methodology based on what must be done, and we must have rules and systems in place to stand for something regardless if we did it wrong for 50 years....It is now way past time to finally get it right or face extermination by these extremely aggressive, desperate Haitians.

Haitians have proven beyond doubt not to be afraid and are adamantly willing to overrun and take over our country and raise their flag in conquest of Bahamas.

Fred Smith and others like him never addressed this issue.

Why were they totally silent to the fact that Haitians had proudly raised their flag and claimed conquest of Bahamas by dragging our Bahamian flag behind their cars?

Where the hell was Fred Smith then?

Why is it that Fred Smith never came running to assist Bahamas when the shoe was on the other foot and Haitians were running rough shod over Bahamians in schools, hospitals, taking and holding two jobs, trying to destroy us internationally etc?

Haitians are no longer welcome in Bahamas and Bahamians will never trust Haitians again.

Keep doing what your doing Fred Mitchell. This country belongs to us..... NOT HAITIANS!

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Economist 5 years ago

SP you say target the Haitians, fine, but how do we target the Haitians is what I want us to discuss.

Yes, as they are the largest, by far, group of illegal immigrants we should consider them first.

What steps do we take? How do we take those steps? What laws do we need to pass? What time frames should we have? What is the cheapest, yet humanitarian method?

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SP 5 years ago

Apprehend them in their most favorite popular places, after medical care, schools, jitneys, wherever they can be found just as you would apprehend any other criminal.

No special laws are required. Haitians are breaking the law and should be treated as the criminals they are.

Never mind Amnesty International. Anyone hear one word from them about the killing of blacks, children, racial profiling and police brutality in USA?

Yet they want us to treat these Haitian criminals with white glove Senator Service?

Apprehend Haitians and all other illegal migrants. Deport them in the most economical ways possible, stop worrying about answering people that pay nothing to help and have no vested interest in Bahamas.

Just do what needs to be done....No rocket science certificate required!

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themessenger 5 years ago

And after you run all the Haitians dem, who will perform all those multitudes of menial tasks that our lazy, uneducated and pissy attitude Bahamians find beneath their swell up dignities? Our young men rather tief and sell drugs before they work and who got more outside children they don't look after than dem. Bahamian women pushin out just as many or more babies, aka future criminals,than the Haitians and at least the Haitians taking advantage of the education they being offered which is more than you could say about our own Bahamian juvenile delinquents, aka criminals!! If the assholes who bin runnin the country for the last forty years had taken the steps to regularize rather than marginalize those Haitians who qualified for residency years ago then we wouldn't have the problem.How many Bahamians, politicians included, have gotten rich and still getting rich off the misery of these poor people over the last forty years??

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Economist 5 years ago

If there are 160,000 illegals, as one of you suggest then immigration would have to round up, process through the legal system (note Mr. Rokers and Fred Smiths comments earlier this week) and deport over 3,000 illegals each week for a year to remove that number from the country.

We all know that we are incapable of doing more than about 300 per week so that would take us 10 years.

Since no one can come up with a solution to the entry of illegals you still have tens of thousands that have come back.

I have asked several times for some dialogue to come up with a real solution and all most people say is round them up and send them back BUT no one has given the practicalities any real thought.

Talk, talk, yap, yap and no substance.

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themessenger 5 years ago

OK Economist, how about we start with a purge of the Immigration Dept, root out alla dem crooked officers and staff who making a fortune off of permits and documents on the side. How about we rediscover all the applications and files which have vanished over the last forty years and start processing them and the more current ones at a rate of more than half a dozen a month. How many of these illegals could be tax paying legals contributing to society rather than being a burden on it if the Immigration Dept functioned as it should? If we processed those illegals who qualify and have applied to become legal residents allowing them to legally work, have a bank account, passport etc in other words become productive members of society instead of barely existing in the underground what sort of an immediate dent do you think that would make in the 160K? How much pressure would it relieve on the Social Services, hospital, school system if thousands of these people could start paying their way instead of being dependent on the State?

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Economist 5 years ago

Great ideas. Agree 100% Thank you, Thank you.

Any one else with ideas?

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