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Us Ambassador Nominee Seeks To Encourage ‘Humane’ Approach To Immigration

xBy SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

CASSANDRA Butts, the United States nominee for ambassador to The Bahamas, said yesterday that if she is confirmed in the post she will “encourage Bahamian officials to adopt fair, humane, and transparent practices” related to immigration.

Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ms Butts said she will also seek to further gender equality and “work closely with Bahamian authorities to reduce crime rates and other illegal activities”.

The Bahamas has not had a US ambassador since 2011. Last year, it was announced that Ms Butts, a former White House attorney, had been nominated for the position but the US Congress has not confirmed her appointment.

When asked by the Senate about her views on The Bahamas’ new immigration policy, Ms Butts said she will ensure the government is following international standards and address concerns raised by human rights advocates and members of the Bahamian Haitian community.

“We work in a co-ordinated effort with The Bahamas with both sea and surface patrols to deter irregular migration in the region and also to interdict migration when we have the opportunity to do so,” she said. “It is my understanding that migrants coming through The Bahamas are principally Haitian and Cuban who stop off in the Bahamas, but ultimately want to make their way to the US.

“If I am confirmed, one of the things I will urge the Bahamian government is to ensure that they are following international standards in how they are managing irregular migration with the support of the US as we have supported them in the past.

“There are significant pockets of migrants in the Bahamas. There is a large Bahamian Haitian community in The Bahamas; as you are probably aware there has been a change in the policy, that went into effect November 2014, that now requires migrants who are in the country to have passports of their country of nationality and also have documentation that they can legally be there.

“There have been concerns that have been raised by the Bahamian Haitian community and human rights advocates that the implementation of the policy has unfairly targeted Haitian communities and that the detainees in the Detention Centre are not being treated to international standards. I will urge while I am there that The Bahamas follows international standards with how they are implementing their immigration policy and also how they are maintaining the detention facilities.”

Ms Butts also said she will partner with The Bahamas on human rights issues, including “seeking to further gender equality and expanding opportunities for disfranchised youth”.

She said although The Bahamas has not had an ambassador in Nassau for more than four years, the strong leadership and staff at the US embassy in The Bahamas is continuing the important work of the mission.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 4 years, 6 months ago

We should do exactly as the Americans do. When we catch them at sea we take them right back to their country....

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Economist 4 years, 6 months ago

You are correct that is exactly what we should be doing. i.e stop the leak then you don't have any water to bail.

We have all those nice Patrol Boats, five large ones (134 to 198 feet long)but do nothing with them except go on cruises to Andros, so we will never catch anyone at sea.

What does the Defence Force do anyway except cost millions of taxpayer dollars?

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Cas0072 4 years, 6 months ago

To stop the leak, we need to start in Haiti. We will never have enough boats and man power to patrol every square mile effectively enough. Unfortunately, and not just in the case of human smuggling, the criminals always seem to be ahead of the law. We need to amend our laws to specifically address the repercussions of illegal immigration. Once that is done, we need to get the message out to potential illegal immigrants that the trip will be a waste of their time and money because they will never become citizens, that they will be swiftly repatriated, and banned from this country permanently.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 6 months ago

I personally hope that she is not confirmed. She is running off her mouth before she is aware of facts. She should stay in the US and encourage America, first and foremost, to "adopt fair, humane, and transparent practices” related to minorities.

Here she is talking about concerns of activists and the Haitian community...no mention of concern for the Bahamian community and how illegal immigration is placing a massive strain on the country...but she is nominated to be US ambassador to Bahamas. She should have been nominated for US Ambassador to Haiti since she is so concerned about them.

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henny 4 years, 6 months ago

She has mentioned a number of issues concerning Immigration and other issues concerning the Bahamas. As for the strain illegal Haitians and other illegals put on the Bahamians that is where the Bahamian government is supposed to control, which they haven't done in years. If they had they'd be no reason to be discussing it. Bahamians are always asking for US help with combating crime and here you have someone willing to assist you act like you don't want any assistance. Regardless, give her a chance to prove herself before you start judging.

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Cas0072 4 years, 6 months ago

It sounds like what you are requesting on behalf of the prospective ambassador, is what we as a nation want to expect of her. That is, to not jump to conclusions, whether it is on one issue or several. However, I am prepared to do that as I believe she was asked a pointed question and she is not currently in a position to provide a more well rounded response. I also do not believe that Bahamians are asking for the US to jump into our affairs, but since they do it anyway, suggest solutions or provide assistance instead of grand standing.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 6 months ago

The government is also responsible for our illegal immigration process, not Ms. Butts. However, if she wants to insert herself into the matter, she could at least appear neutral, for now, on a process that she has yet to observe. Because she is not, isn't she the one judging?

I am not sure of the other issues you addressed concerning this lady, or Bahamians wanting US help...so I will withhold commentary on that until I do. See how that works?

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Voltaire 4 years, 6 months ago

ispeakthetruth - can you prove the "massive strain" being placed on the country? She is not the only one who likes to speak in the absence of any facts. I am not saying illegal immigration is not a strain, just that I have never seen a single official report saying this is the case, and to what extent. All that is just anecdotal evidence, that may or may not be true. The only reports that I have seen actually suggest the opposite - that the bogey man of "illegal immigration" is used by the authorities in the Bahamas as an excuse, to justify woefully substandard health care and education services, which would be disasters in any case - illegals or no illegals. Far too much is is just taken for granted on this issue. No facts, no stats, just noise.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 6 months ago

Voltaire, Illegal immigration is no "bogey man" it is very real. To what extent does the problem exist? That is the only answer that evades us because illegals are not documented and unaccounted for, and the attempts to do so are met with "noise" from people like yourself. What reports have you seen to suggest the opposite of the impact of illegal immigration? The only academic attempt on the issue that I have read "the stigma of being Haitian in the Bahamas" actually confirmed that illegal immigrants heavily utilize public hospitals, and the education system.

Also, based on the number of intercepts, common sense would dictate that those who get away are more numerous because of our inadequate border protection. Even the US confirmed that human trafficking was an issue. The fact that the Bahamas is a developing nation, with limited resources, also Implies our inability to sustain thousands more who come illegally, be it five or fifty thousand. The country can barely sustain those who are here legally, thanks to inadequate governance. I would like nothing more than for this issue to be a false cry, but I doubt it. The nation seems to be imploding from all angles, and this is a major one.

Also, I would have no problem with this lady weighing in if she spoke to both sides of the issue, including the issue of human trafficking to and through the Bahamas. And discussing ways the US would help the Bahamas in that regard.

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Emac 4 years, 6 months ago

Why are you even responding to this clown. His views will never change. Christ will come and go and Voltaire will still be holding firm to the idea that the mammoth illegal Haitian problem can be absorbed by the Bahamas socially and economically and that is final. The Bahamians are the donkeys and the Haitians are the riders. So after years and years of free rides you think the rider wanna be dumped? Absolutely not!

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 6 months ago

I know I shouldn't. But I am really responding to give the others readers of these comments an alternative to the biased, logic defying, commentary of Voltaire and the others.

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bismark 4 years, 6 months ago

what the Bahamas needs to do is point all of those boatloads of people,directly towards the American shores,everyone wants to have a say in this country affairs in immigration,if you are illegal get your ass out and go back to your own country,we are sick and tired of all illegals in this country.

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Emac 4 years, 6 months ago

The lack of professionalism already portrayed by this woman is astounding! Obviously the United States ambassador nominee is basing her information about alleged human abuse issues on hearsay and not hard facts. Even the meeting between the Grand Bahama Human Rights Society and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission cannot be treated as gospel until the IAHRC does an in-depth investigation into what was brought before them. This investigation by the way, should examine the credibility of the loud mouth Fred Smith, as well as the alleged abuse of the Haitian community reported by Smith. But after watching the recordings, it was clear as daylight that their initial assessment of the entire issue was lopsided, with them favoring the GBHRS. In any event, no one should be surprised by Ms. Butt's prelude speech. Everyone knows that America is the most hypocritical country in the universe. They tell you do that and do this, while they do as they please.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 6 months ago

To "generalcrazy": Your daily med or alcohol intake is not helping much with your loose screws! Try taking very deep breaths before you blow a gasket and suffer some kind of serious aneurysm!!

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SP 4 years, 6 months ago

.... Dominican Republic Set Precedence.....Bahamas Just needs to follow their lead .....

We must ignore the Americans and so called human rights clowns who are not affected by this illegal Haitian blight destroying our country.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/article...">http://www.bloomberg.com/news/article...

“No other nation in the world, or international organization, can demand that the Dominican Republic make sacrifices to its migratory system, or any other sovereign right beyond those in place through laws and the constitution.”

The Dominican Republic government has it right, and we must also GET IT RIGHT!

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unitee 4 years, 6 months ago

While we sit on social media and various pages discussing what GBHR and others are doing they are out in the vineyard ensuring that all those who need to be informed of what they believe is unjust and inhumane as it relates to the immigration policy. Little that you all know Ms. Daphne Campbell, Jetta Baptiste, Fred Smith and the group have been lobbying since this policy was enacted. They sent a letter to OAS, Robert Kennedy Human Rights group, President Obama, the US Embassy and I also understand Great Britain. We should feel ashamed as Bahamians because all we do is talk amongst ourselves and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! If you want to be heard and feel only one side of the story has been told then get out and lobby. Fred Smith is a lawyer and a very good one too. He s making things happen. Send your letters but none of you will do that. You'll continue to complain in your corners, while changes are being made.

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Girly 4 years, 6 months ago

Awesome.So true.While we are murmuring and complaining our country is being snatched right from underneath us.

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Girly 4 years, 6 months ago

We are allowing people to sneak into our country and snatch our bread and butter right before our eyes.People who come in illegal melt in,take and then proceed to belittle us in our own country.Everything is just being taken away and absolutely nothing is being done by the native Bahamians.All we are doing is just allowing a few individuals to just bad mouth us internationally and then mosey right back into the country like nothing ever happened.Other countries even our big brother would never allow one of their citizens to travel and bad mouth their country to another country without being called a traitor.The Gov.needs to take action immediately to safeguard this country form being continually raped,stripped,defamed and kicked by persons who could give a rats behind about us as a people.IF WE DONT DO SOMETHING NOW WE WILL REGRET NOT DOING NOTHING LATER AND OUR CHILDREN WILL BE LEFT WITH NO VOICE IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.THANK GOD FOR FRED MITCHELL AND HIS STANCE IN TRYING TO DO SOMETHING BEFORE IT BE TOO LATE. REMEMBER BAHAMIANS THESE FOREIGNERS COULD CARE LESS ABOUT US THEY JUST WANT WHAT IS OURS.JUST LOOK AT THE COMMENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

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