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Chipman Says Immigration Policy Will Be 'Ineffective' Without Legislation

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Hubert Chipman

By RICARDO WELLS?

Tribune Staff Reporter?

rwells@tribunemedia.net?

THE shadow minister for immigration, Hubert Chipman, claimed this week that the government's new immigration policy will "prove ineffective" due to a lack of legislation.

Mr Chipman, the Free National Movement MP for St Anne's, accused the government of using "mixed messages to create mass confusion". He added that immigration officials are playing a guessing games with the new policy.

"This policy was implemented in November of last year," Mr Chipman said on Wednesday. "At that time the minister indicated that the necessary legislation would follow in January. Come on. January has come and gone and all we as the public have received is differing messages from that side. No one seems to be on the same page and their comments prove that.

"This policy can't work if the legislation doesn't come. It needs firm and clear legislation to work. All we have so far is the minister suggesting how things might work and other people around the country firing back at him over his comments," said Mr Chipman.

On November 1, the government introduced a new policy, which required everyone to have a passport of their nationality with proof to legally work or reside in The Bahamas. As a part of that policy all non-Bahamian children will have to obtain a student permit and a passport with a residency stamp.

Mr Chipman said: "Personally I don't see a problem with students being required to obtain a permit to apply or go to school. Bahamian kids are required to have a birth certificate to apply to attend school, so it is only right that regulations require non-Bahamian kids to get a student permit if they intend to attend school.

"This is already a complicated issue. You have an extensive backlog of applications for work permits at the immigration office. Those persons might have kids: if their applications have not been reviewed yet, how do you then give a ruling on an application for their kids.

"Then, on the other hand, what happens when you reject the parents' application but the child was born here. That child is eligible to apply for citizenship. Do you deport them and tell them at 19 they can return and apply for citizenship?"

According to Mr Chipman these "intricate details" now make the government's new policy complicated to enforce. He explained that some illegals might be forced to keep their children away from schools, clinics and even churches out of fear that their undocumented offspring might lead immigration authorities to them.

"It's a scary thought they might refuse to take their kids to school because they are wondering if immigration officers will be waiting to see who drops off the kids. You have to fix the issues with the parents and then allow the kids to follow suite. Once you straighten that out (legal rights of parents), the rest will fall in to place."

Last week, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said that the government is “resolute” over the student permit requirement for children. He indicated that he supported immigration officials’ attempts to enforce the immigration laws of the country.

Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said earlier this week that he was confident the government enjoys the support of most Bahamians for its latest immigration restriction, which mandates that children of non-Bahamians have a student permit to attend school.

On Monday, Marco City MP Greg Moss criticised the government’s new immigration policy, arguing that people of Haitian descent - who he called “undocumented Bahamians” - may be deported under the restrictions. He added 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.

"The only thing this policy has delivered is mass hysteria because no one knows the full details," he said. "The education director has an opinion, so does the minister of education and the immigration minister. They all have opinions on a policy that has no legislation. At this moment we are all going back and forward on a matter that legally doesn't stand up. This policy needs legislation to have teeth."

Comments

birdiestrachan 4 years, 7 months ago

The Haitian activist said they will not pay the fee, Pratt and Sands said that they do not have to pay the fee, so that is the end of the story because they are the ones who run things. I do not see anything wrong with them paying a small fee. to go to school, and the children should go to school.

But what has come to light in all of this , and it is good that it has, is that there are no immigration laws in place and that is according to what Mr: Pratt has said. The illegals know this. I know of a man who was sent to his Country on the plane paid for by the tax payers. He came right back on a boat and he was given a work permit. there are many immigration Officers who have permits for Gardeners and they do not even have any yards to clean. Immigration is in need of laws, and the FNM and the PLP should get together and put some laws in place quickly.

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ohdrap4 4 years, 7 months ago

birdie is switching political parties!!!

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 7 months ago

Even with laws in place, Mr. William Pratt, acting director of immigration, suggested that the department can allow illegals with documented proof of their decades long crime to become regularized. In light of Mr. Pratt's comments, I believe there has to be oversight and transparency, of this department in addition to legislating the new policies. If not, the ongoing circumvention of laws by illegals and the complicity of officials, will continue to undermine the government's authority and promote illegal immigration.

The issue of a child born to illegal residents, should not be an issue. It would be inhumane to separate parent from child; and I imagine all sorts of international laws would be broken in that case. However, automatically legalizing illegal resident parents should not be an option either. Our citizenship laws were crafted with legal immigration in mind, and not the current situation where the Bahamas is overrun with illegals and their (attempted) anchor babies. If we cave in to this form of manipulation we are upholding the view that illegals have always seemed aware: immigration laws are useless. Such children, by law, can apply for citizenship at eighteen. There is no need to complicate the one issue that is abundantly clear.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 7 months ago

Is Pratt speaking to established standing Immigration practices that have become accepted .................... or is this truly the legal position based on our existing LAWS???????/ Because this is unbelievable ...unthinkable!!!!

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Pratt did not make himself clear. However, I looked at immigration requirements for permanent residency, and one qualification is that of a Haitian immigrant with documented proof of residence in the Bahamas since 1985 (or prior), that I was aware. If you read the article, that featured Mr. Pratt, you got the impression that immigration rules were for the most part created on a case by basis, and "long term" residence was undefined-leaving it to the department's discretion. I don't have a lot of confidence that he can effectively relay the new policies to the public because he failed in articulating a very old, and apparently not very well known, one to the public.

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Emac 4 years, 7 months ago

Thank you ispeakthetruth. You are one of the few who seem to look at this immigration problem rationally, from all angles. I will sit back and watch how the present government goes about bringing some resolution to this vexing problem that has been plaguing the Bahamas for decades. The end result should allow all non Bahamians living in this country legally and illegally to have a clear understanding of all policies that are put in place by the government that MUST be adhered by ALL non-Bahamians while they are a part of this rock. The government's policies must be concise and clear, and there should be a mass campaign to alert all and sundry about these policies. No more excuses.

No I don't expect much from the two major parties. They say one thing and do another. Especially during the election campaigning season. I say Bran is the man with the master plan.

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DEDDIE 4 years, 7 months ago

You switch allegiance quickly. On a previous post you were pushing Fred Mitchel for Prime Minister

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 7 months ago

I am confident that Emac realizes that it is not about Fred Mitchell, or party politics. Once you have freed your mind of those limiting beliefs, you will realize that there is a greater good in the efforts that oppose illegal immigration. Not only is our economy at stake, but so is our heritage and culture. I, for one, am not willing to concede so easily to those that threaten our existence and rights as native Bahamians. However, if the PLP or others have worked it into your mind that you are not worthy of our beautiful Bahama lands and its potential, I cannot fault you either...it is what it is. But I can always hope and pray that you develop more self esteem (that we are worth it) and common sense. Until then, I will hope for a little sincerity from our politicians; and genuinity, and sense of urgency from our voting public.

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TalRussell 4 years, 7 months ago

On immigration. Comrade Chippies hails from the red party so full talk when sitting on the opposition side of the House of Assembly. But during their three terms in power, they never even attempted to walk the immigration enforcement talk. Maybe the Comrade Red MP, thinks the people have short memories, how it was Papa Hubert Ingraham, who ordered his Immigration Minister Brent to release all the Haitians from the immigration's detention center. Ask Chippie, how many of them ever reported back, as was an important condition of their release? Ask Chippie how many were ever deported back to Haiti? The answer to both questions amounts to zero plus zero equals one big flat ZERO enforcement, by Chippies most favorite Papa Hubert. Whi in the hell would even suggest for adult citizens to call him, their Papa? I wonder if MP Chippie also forgot that it was also his Papa Hubert who told Haitians to sue the taxpayers government? Papa "KC Freddy Smith" Hubert sounds more like a befitting name handle.

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ohdrap4 4 years, 7 months ago

one unintented consequese of all this are to MARRIED BAHAMIAN WOMEN MARRIED TO FOREIGNERS.

it is ridiculous to make them pay for permits for their children to attend school.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 7 months ago

The children you refer to will be Bahamian citizens by birth based on where they are born .............. based on the Constitution. Go and attend the town meetings with the BCC

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ohdrap4 4 years, 7 months ago

the children in question were born of a married bahamian mother in the US for medical reasons.

the unmarried bahamian mother's children will be bahamian.

bahamian men discriminate against women in the constitution.

i did watch the fnm convention prior to the 1992 election where the child of a married bahamian mother spoke who would not be granted status in the bahamas because she was born outside the bahamas of a foreign father.

constitution has not changed since then.

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Emac 4 years, 7 months ago

@DEDDIE-Yep, I did say that IF Fred had enough balls to move full force ahead with these policies I would support him as prime minister of Bahamaland. I also said that I would consider moving in Fox Hill just to vote for Fred if he is really serious about resolving this immigration issue. But surely you don't think that I would actually move from where I live just to vote for a Politian do you????? DEDDIE , what is interesting is that you don't see how I use a lot of Hyperbole when referring to politics in the Bahamas, especially with the PLP. But then again who says that Fred will not deliver? From the looks of things they are simply giving a little leeway for the illegals to get their house in order.

I can say that I would support any politician from the other two parties who truly wants to fix this problem. Bran had a resolution when he was under the FNM, but when he tried to deliver he was stifled by interferences from you know who. He is now the leader of a party, so intimately he would be in a better position to finish what he started. To tell ya the truth, I believe that Bahamians would vote for a polar bear if he can get this immigration thing under control. It is easy to see that this immigration issue is really getting to many Bahamians, who contribute to this society, including myself. I bet those who love this country called the Bahamas feel boxed in and are frustrated that the policy makers are not putting law abiding citizens first. We are fed up that this and past governments are not listening to us, when we say enough is enough.

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