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Moss Criticises Immigration Plan

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

MARCO City MP Greg Moss yesterday criticised the government’s new immigration policy, arguing that persons of Haitian descent who he called “undocumented Bahamians” may be deported under the restrictions.

He also insisted that children who are born in the Bahamas to foreign parents are entitled to be registered as citizens of the country when they become 18 years old.

He said that the notion that this segment of the population only had the constitutional right to apply for citizenship once they turned 18 was a misconception.

Mr Moss said just as he was committed to defending the rights of any other Bahamian citizen, he would also defend the rights of “undocumented Bahamians” who would be stateless if deported under the government’s new immigration policy.

The Progressive Liberal Party MP was speaking in the House of Assembly as debate continued on the National Tripartite Council Bill, which was passed in the lower chamber yesterday evening.

Mr Moss said second, third and fourth generation Haitians in the Bahamas are not considered Haitian under that country’s constitution.

“Only first generation people, who are first generation Haitians in this country, who are born to native born Haitians in Haiti have Haitian nationality and Haitian citizenship. Second, third, fourth, fifth and beyond don’t – they have no citizenship in Haiti.”

In light of these issues, he said the government’s new immigration restrictions should not be a policy decision, but should be brought to the House of Assembly for debate so its ramifications can be discussed.

“The point is made by the Constitutional Commission and the point is made by the careful reading of the Haitian constitution,” he said. “Any Haitian national born in this country whose parent was not a native born Haitian in Haiti would effectively be stateless if we deport them.”

He referred to Article Seven of the Constitution, which says a person born in the Bahamas after July 9, 1973, neither of whose parents are citizens of the Bahamas, shall be entitled to be registered as a citizen of the Bahamas at 18 years old.

“Not apply, but to be registered,” he stressed. “This is something that I feel extremely strongly about because what we are talking about when we get past first generation Haitians born in in this country . . .is undocumented Bahamians. We are talking about deporting them from this country, which at age 18 they are entitled to be registered as a citizen. That is what we are talking about.

However, Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell said Mr Moss’s remarks were based on his interpretation of the Constitution and a “red herring.”

Mr Mitchell, minister of foreign affairs and immigration, said the Bahamas government was compelled by international obligations to give stateless individuals status.

“The generality of the (government’s) proposition is this, if you’re not Bahamian you need to have permission to be in the Bahamas. If you are stateless then the Bahamas has certain obligations. We don’t violate those norms.”

He added: “The international obligation is standard when someone is stateless. You have to provide status for that individual. So the question of deporting someone who is stateless does not apply.

“It appears to me that one is raising something that is not an issue.”

On the issue of citizenship applications, Mr Mitchell said: “We know that the way that the law is prescribed under the Act that the Bahamas government does have some say over whether someone is registered or not. But there are also provisions in the Bahamas’ Nationality Act to say how you could apply and the Bahamas government can apply those positions and refuse to register someone in those circumstances.”

Mr Mitchell maintained that the Bahamas government will follow the law regarding non-Bahamians. He said they must have permission or proof of permission to be in the country.

“We are seeking to deal with the number of cases that people have raised and the immigration reform is designed to deal with that problem,” he said.

On November 1, the government introduced a new policy, which required all persons to have a passport of their nationality with proof to legally work or reside in the Bahamas. Some have said the policy unfairly targets persons of Haitian descent.

Comments

ispeakthetruth 5 years, 5 months ago

We essentially should only be dealing with two generations of illegals in the repatriation process - those who came after 1985 and their kids. Mr. Moss correctly asserts, they are Haitians, not stateless individuals. The successive generations, and there really should not be that many, unless there is an epidemic of 30 year old grandparents, are not entitled to citizenship. Mr. Moss clearly ignored paragraph 2:

7 (2) Any application for registration under this Article shall be subject to such exceptions or qualifications as may be prescribed in the interests of national security or public policy.

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licks2 5 years, 5 months ago

Mr Moss conveniently ignore Haitian constitution of 2012 that grants naturalization to those persons after living in Haiti for five years. HAITIANS CAN NOW HOLD DUEL CITIZENSHIP UNDER HC 2012 convers to HC 1987 which did not allow nothing except native born to two native born Haitians or 2nd generation abroad!

What he also failed to tell is that Haitian Constitution 1987 made 3rd generation children born to Haitian who were not native born (inside or outside of haiti) people stateless. According to him Haitians are only made by being born in Haiti to two parents who themselves are native born in Haiti. . .are haitian only. . .whether in Haiti or anywhere else in the world! He is correct under HC 1987. This is not the case under HC 2012! Those entiled to apply for Bahamian citizenship that are deported with parents can return and claim their right to apply for that honor. HC allows them same returnees to keep their Haitian naturalization as long as they return to Haiti within three years. . .over three years they lose that honor!!!

Either moss don't know dittly or the rest of the world. . .including UNHRC got it wrong. . .they are sending them back to Haiti. . .and the government in Haiti is taking them back!! Further, Haiti has ratified them same UN treaties that they are saying we signed to tell us we are doing wrong. . .I confused here! Haiti has already adjusted its Constitution to meet those obligations. . .THERE IS NO SUCH CREATUTRE AS A STATELESS HAITIAN!!!!

Ya mean to tell me that 3rd generation persons born to two Haitian parents are not Haitian citizens except they are born in Haiti proper? And even if one of them non-Haitians go back to Haiti. . .wait five years. . .have some chirrins . . .them kids are not Haitians? THIS IS CONTRARY TO UN RIGHT TO MIGRATION AND RETURN TO THEIR NATIVE LAND!!!! THAT UN TREATY DEFINDED NATIVE LAND AS THE LAND OF PARENTAL DECENT!! DUH!

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duppyVAT 5 years, 5 months ago

Greg Moss didnot criticise the plan ........... he merely clarified a constitutional matter. The plan is fine ........... but the Devil is in the details. Its the details and the anomalies with specific cases that must be worked through. But the Constitution Chapter 2 remains the final arbiter.

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 5 months ago

So is this why Greg joined the PLP? To be it's official criticizer? LOL!!! Why this dread just don't leave the party? What is he expecting from the drug running, criminal based PLP?

People have some strange ways man....

I would not join a party I disagreed with so much... What is his problem?

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TalRussell 5 years, 5 months ago

PM please in the interest of educating our lawyers community, can you publicly declare, the Haitian problem a matter of grave national security concern. by doing so, we can do way with lawyers interfering the the protection of the sovereignty Bahamaland.
Freeport's Comrade MP Greg seems to have become "King's Counsel" Freddy brainwashed. Both being lawyers should read the the most important part of our nation's constitution, that in the interest of the nation's security, application for citizenship can be denied. If the MP does not believe that 260,000 with another 260,000 either on their way or soon will be, of any one nationality is not cause for security concerns, then do tell us what is? MP Greg where is your deep concerns over Freeport's escalating major crimes, local businesses closing and the thousands unable to find steady paychecks. Seems you and your mentor "KC" Freddy are blind to anything, that does not give automatic rights to Haitians.

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Economist 5 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Moss is, once again, trying to put things in their proper prospective. He is a lawyer and will understand better the nuances of the law.

For example, with respect to the exceptions in Article 7(2). I understand that words like "national security" and "public policy" are quite restricted in how they are interpreted. Much narrower than the average layman expects.

I commend Mr. Moss for forcing us to look at the issues as they really are.

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 5 months ago

Mr:Moss conducts him self like a BEAR with a sore back side. He opposes every thing the PLP does. He is worse than the opposition. His problem is he always has to have something to say even if it makes no sense. and what he is talking about makes no sense, He had his opportunity when he was given a position at NIB. But he could not stop talking He just goes on and on. His political career is over. so he may as well entertain the print media. who uses him but has no use for him.

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Emac 5 years, 5 months ago

Do you know what the real issue is with this whole immigration thing? HAITIANS-Let's face it. The illegal Haitians are making it bad for the Bahamians of Haitian origin, who can rightfully apply to become residents or citizens. But I don't feel sorry for a lot of these so called Haitian Bahamians, because they are the very ones that hide and support the boat loads of Haitian that come into this country illegally. So on one hand they are complaining that they are being over looked and are not allowed to integrate into society and on the other hand, they break all of the laws of the Bahamas by aiding and abetting the boat criminals who sneak into our shores during the wee hours of the morning. To top it all of, many of them get into marriage arrangements with these illegals, some with criminal backgrounds, and they are involved with other serious criminal activities that threaten the security of the Bahamas. Many of the young Bahamian young men that are of Haitian origin are a part of the gun smuggling racketeer. I am not saying that Bahamian young men are saints, but that's another story.

The other thing is this: Why in the frig you wanna be so biggetty in other people's country any way? You would think that if you are in a country illegally you would lay low and not be a bother to society. You would at least show some concern for that country you are dwelling in illegally, by NOT over burdening it's people with trailer loads of children. JESUS-These people are the most ungodly people in the world, they are misers in every sense of the word. I could never support a people that are so ungrateful and mean spirited and BIGGITTY like the Haitian people. YOU CANNOT CLAIM WHAT WAS NEVER YOURS!

So the nagging question is, how do these "Haitian-Bahamians" expect to get the respect from the Bahamas government without first bearing allegiance to the country that they want to be a part of? SMFT.

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duppyVAT 5 years, 5 months ago

We have a policy in place now ................ all persons of Haitian heritage born in The Bahamas PRIOR to 1985 can apply for regularization. I am sure the Bahamian government has honoured that agreement with the Haitian government. There should not be any more of that generation without status in The Bahamas. The post-1985 ones have to claim their Haitian citizenship. Fred has nothing to justify to the United Nations or Amnesty or the Pope.

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licks2 5 years, 5 months ago

What agreement? The Bahamian government can not make any citizenship agreement with any government that is contrary to our constitution! Just like citizenship in not automatic in Haiti at birth. . .it is the same in the Bahamas! You are picking a straws dude. . .LET IT GO. . .THE GAME IS OVA. . .YOU WILL GET IT RIGHT. . .OR YOU CAN LEAVE!!! THE MORE PERSONS LIKE LUBBY AND FRED SMITH RUN ON WITH THEY EMOTIVE RANTING. . .THE LESS "SOFT" THE BAHAMIAN FEEL TO "GEE A BREAK". . .WE TELL YOU HOW YOU WILL GET IT DONE!!! TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!! THOSE WHO CAN PROVE THEIR CASE PROPERLY. . .THEY ARE IN. . .THOSE WHO CAN'T. . .SORRY. . . THE WHOLE REGION IS GETTING TIRED OF ILLEGALS. . .ESPECIALLY THOSE OF HAITIAN DECENT LEAVING THEIR HOMELAND TO BE IN SOME ONE ELSE PLACE AND REFUSE TO FOLLOW THEIR RULES. IT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN DUDE!!

BUT THE THING THAT CONFUSE ME IS THAT ALL THIS "BRAIN" THAT WANT TO TELL THE WHOLE WORLD HOW TO RUN THIER COUNTRY. . .WHY SMART PERSONS OF HATIAN HERITAGE LIKE LUBBY AND FRED GO AND HELP MAKE HAITI WORK!

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 5 months ago

There is such an agreement. However, I stand corrected, it said anyone born in the Bahamas prior to 1985 is a citizen of the Bahamas, regardless of their parents citizenship status. it does not include their illegal parents. If that exception had to be made, clearly the right by birth to citizenship does not exist for Haitians born in the Bahamas. I first read about this agreement between Haiti and the Bahamas when the minister alluded to it an article in the Jamaican Gleaner, but he or they did not go into detail. I did a little research in order to learn what the agreement included. The resources are conflicting, but there is some type of agreement, it's very easy to find.

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Economist 5 years, 5 months ago

Maybe they have not given their allegiance because they are still waiting for immigration to process their papers. See below statements of Director of Immigration.

"Mr Pratt stressed that it was not the department’s intention to jeopardise employment and encouraged individuals to seek assistance with his office for alternative options to secure a work permit.

“They are entitled to have a work permit, of course,” he said. “If they’re already employed and lived here all their lives, some employers have contacted us about persons in that category. Some of these persons, their citizenship is already before the board awaiting decision. So on a case by case basis, we wouldn’t object.”

Mr Pratt added: “Some people are already employed, Bahamians hired them based on their birth certificates. They were born here, grew up here, they were hired as Bahamians, but technically they are not. We will work on a case by case basis on those issues,” he added, “most of those persons their application is complete and they will be sworn in shortly.”

"So because of the constitutional law under the Immigration Act they require work and residence permits but over the years we never really enforced it, to the extent there were many persons who got jobs and were working and their application (was still being processed),"

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 5 months ago

If they are legal, and it's just a matter of processing them, they should be fine at the end of the day, correct? Please calm down!

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licks2 5 years, 5 months ago

AND YOUR POINT IS?? THE AVERAGE WAIT IN CANADA AND THE USA IS. . .YES 7 TO 10 YEARS!! AND IN THE US THEY WILL NOT COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION IF YOU ARE IN THE USA!!

THE GOVERNMENT IS NOW TELLING YOU THAT THE SLACK DAYS ARE OVA. I WORKED IN THE USA FOR OVER TEN YEARS. . .ON WORK PERMIT. . .WHEN MY 4TH WORK PERMIT WAS UP THEY TOLD ME. . .WE ARE NOT GOING TO RENEW IT ANY MORE!!! I WORKED FOR OVER TEN YEARS. THE FIRST APPLICATION I MADE I HAD TO WAIT ONE YEAR WHILE THEY CHECKED IF THERE WERE ANY AMERICAN WHO COULD DO MY JOB!!

EVEN THOUGH I WAS PAYING FICA, STATE TAX, INCOME TAX, SOCIAL SECURITY, I WAS NOT ENTITELED TO ANY FREE THING EXCEPT FREE DENTAL AND EYE CARE!! AND I GOT NO TAX RETURN EVEN THOUGH I WAS IN THE 35% TAX BRAKET!

OUR CHILDREN COULD NOT GO TO GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS SO EDUCATION WAS PAID FOR IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

CHILDREN HAD TO HAVE AN I-20 AND H-1 VISAS TO ATTEND SCHOOL. . .RENEWABLE EACH YEAR! THEY HAD TO TRAVEL WITH THIER I-20 FORMS WITH THEM OR FACE ARREST DEPORTATION!

I HAD TO PRESENT A COPY OF MY WORK PERMIT EACH YEAR TO HUMAN RESOURCES. ONE YEAR THE COMPANY DID NOT GET MY WP ABOUT THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE OLE ONE EXPIRED! I WAS PULLED IN THE OFFICE AND TOLD IF THE RENEWAL IS NOT HERE BY THE YEAR'S END. . .DO NOT COME BACK TO WORK! YOU ALL PLAYING WITH THIS THING. . .THIS IS NOT A GAME. . .THIS IS FOR THE SAFE KEEPING OF OUR NATION FOR OUR CHILDREN. . .NOT HAITI'S CHILDREN!

THOSE HAITIANS WHO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE HERE. . .I too will fight for them to get that right. . .but those who do not . . .I WILL FIGHT AGAINST ANY "PUSH" TO WEAKEN THIS NATION ANY FURTHER!

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Economist 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't know about the US, but the Canadians don't make you wait 5 to 7 years after you make the application. You need to have been there 5 to 7 years for your application and much less if you have a degree.

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Emac 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh I see. After they have gotten their papers processed is when they will really begin to respect our culture. Some a dem ain even know or tryin to know da Bahamian national anthem or even have a clue about any ting Bahamian. At the end of the day they will still drag our flag on the ground during their flag day and use our flag as an attachment to their shacks! I don't know which other country in the world allows people to abuse their national symbols like the Bahamas. You could get kill in other countries for tryin that shyte.

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Economist 5 years, 5 months ago

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/f...">http://www.tribune242.com/news/2015/f...

Emmm....considering the illegal problem was this trip really necessary? Must not know the depth of the water, or how much you are drawing, if you chipped the propeller.

Much deeper water off Inagua, suggest Defence Force redeploy our new and expensive Patrol Boats there, and stop the illegals.

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Emac 5 years, 5 months ago

What is this thing with you and Royal Bahamas Defense Force and their vessels??? You seem to have a gripe with our marines. True you have some corruption in some ranks of the defense force, but at the end of the day they put their lives at risk to protect the Bahamian people against intruders who illegally cross our borders to rape our waters and the likes of the criminal boat people. Stopping the illegals from coming into this country is only one fraction of the fix to the vexing immigration problems. Sure we need to protect our borders from these criminals-But we must not IGNORE the huge illegal population that presently exists in the Bahamas. We need them out NOW. If every true Bahamian would be like the Long Islanders we wouldn't have this problem. How is it that the Long Islanders don't need any defense force vessels or other resources to keep illegals out? The word is out there that they are not welcome in Long Island. Therefore,they don't go there-Simple. So now, Nassau, being the most populated island of the Bahamas, with illegals, need to also send a message that the influx of boat criminals are NOT wanted here and will NOT be allowed to tap into our strained social services and public health agencies.

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Economist 5 years, 5 months ago

You make some good points. What is it exactly, that they are doing in Long Island that we all need to start to copy?

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duppyVAT 5 years, 5 months ago

Long Island people work hard and are proud of taking care of themselves, rather than depend on Haitians or others........ thats the difference between them and most other islands ......... thats why the central government treats them differently (poorly)

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sansoucireader 5 years, 5 months ago

I am so disgusted and fed up with every one of these politicians who seem more interested in securing status for Haitians, Bahamians of Haitian descent and everyone else. MEANWHILE, in 2015, the same politicians can't decide if a BAHAMIAN WOMAN should have the same rights under the law as a Bahamian man. Remember the Referendum? They need to be concerned about that!

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duppyVAT 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree...... thats the bigger Bahamian issue right now

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Islandgirl 5 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. Bahamians FIRST. Do they not realize that a naturalized Bahamian male, be they of Haitian extraction or otherwise, secure more rights in this land than Bahamian females with familial lines of multiple generations, as soon as they are granted citizenship? I can have a child with a foreign husband outside of this country and expect my offspring to have no rights in the land of my birth and forefathers, and yet these people can? Thank you Sans Souci reader. Politicians, fix this first!

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