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19 Brazilians Feared Drowned Off The Bahamas

AT LEAST 19 Brazilian migrants are feared drowned off the Bahamas as they tried to cross illegally to the United States, officials in Brasilia, the capital, said on Monday according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

The group went missing “during a purported crossing by sea from the Bahamas to the United States”, a Brazilian foreign ministry statement said. The migrants’ families have not heard from them since November 6, the foreign ministry said.

“There are about 20 Brazilians (who have gone missing). So far, there is no information about their whereabouts, nor about the vessel that supposedly was going to take them to the United States,” the foreign ministry added.

Brazilian media reports said there were also dozens of other migrants aboard the boat, which officials suspect went down while attempting the 50-mile crossing between the northern Bahamas and the Florida coast.

The Brazilian embassy in Nassau and the Brazilian consulate in Miami, Florida, are reportedly in contact with family members and authorities to try to locate the missing persons, officials said.

The Brazilian foreign ministry said it was not ruling out the possibility that the migrants could be in prison or missing for other reasons. But silence from everyone in such a large group, known to have been being trafficked into the US, raises many concerns.

Several Brazilian media outlets reported that family members of the missing migrants told them their kin paid thousands of dollars to “coyotes”, people traffickers who smuggle them into the US.

The busiest such route was from Grand Bahama to the Palm Beach area of Florida; now it may include Bimini closer to Miami, or other Bahamian islands.

The sister of one of the Brazilians missing after allegedly traveling to the Bahamas told Brazilian news radio network station Globo that it was the third time he was trying to enter the US. He was deported in 2013 after living illegally in the US for eight years, she was quoted as saying. This time “we do not know who took him. There are a number of people. One takes them to Belo Horizonte. Another takes them to Sao Paulo. And then another on to the Bahamas,” she was reported as saying.

Choosing the route to the US through the Bahamas is not common among Brazilians, Eduardo Siqueira, associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, who studies migration from Brazil to the US, told AFP. They usually enter by plane with a tourist visa and then stay on illegally, or enter by land across the border with Mexico. So this case, if confirmed, shows Brazilians are finding other, new ways because the usual routes are becoming more difficult, he said.

Suffering the worst recession in a century, Brazil has an unemployment rate of 11.8 per cent, affecting almost 12 million people and Mr Siqueira said the current crisis has caused an increase in Brazilian immigration to the US, especially among citizens with a higher educational level.

“They come to look for what they cannot find in Brazil, they come to improve their lives, looking for jobs, income,” said the Brazilian professor who has been living in the US for almost three decades and who recently verified an increase in Brazilians seeking services at consulates in the US.

The Foreign Ministry estimates the Brazilian community in the US tops 1.4 million people, based on consular data.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 8 months ago

Come January 20th, Trump and his new team will be getting a handle on this and other things involving the Bahamas that adversely affect the national security interests of the U.S.

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 8 months ago

Ok. This AMERICAN immigration problem is getting out of hand.

The Bahamas has to make the Americans pay every dime it costs us.

There are POLITICAL ways to make this happen.

All we need is a confident, smart leader. A person who will make the US acknowledge this is an AMERICAN problem....

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ohdrap4 2 years, 8 months ago

what is it these brazilians are costing the bahamas? i think they or their govt pays for their own deportation.

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bandit 2 years, 8 months ago

Not an American problem when they are leaving from Bahamian shores

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empathy 2 years, 8 months ago

People-smuggling will be our downfall much like the drug trade in the 70's and 80's hurt our reputation and economy. There is no moral (or economic) high ground here. People are taken advantage of and many die.

Our government doesn't appear to take it seriously given the paucity of prosecutions of smugglers in our court system. I can only think of two cases (Jamaicans) prosecuted and they were accused of taking their own country-women's passports?!

With all the illegal immigrant "sloops" being captured especially those associated with loss of life, can't think of one (except a case in Abaco several years ago) when someone (a boat captain or mate) where someone was arrested and prosecuted.

What message does this send?

Probably the same message as not prosecuting "Bahamian" bosses and businesses who knowingly hire (and take advantage) of illegal migrants, paying them inferior wages that negatively affect locals' ability to earn a living wage and who despite what they claim don't pass that savings onto the Bahamian consumer. In fact these illegal employers worsen our economy by deflating wages, enlarging an underclass and putting a greater stress on our government systems: education, healthcare, immigration and security apparatus.

Politicians: grow a spine or a heart, whatever it takes to address this problem. This is a government's responsibility!

It is hightime for Bahamians to demand a response or take matters into our own hands if nothing continues to be done.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 8 months ago

Fweddy Boy was overheard saying that all of this illegal human smuggling activity is not a problem for the Bahamas as long as the individuals being smuggled do not remain in the Bahamas and end up where they want to go, i.e. the U.S.

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Reality_Check 2 years, 8 months ago

I can believe this....Fred Mitchell is no friend of the U.S. and is constantly looking for ways to "stick it" to the U.S. if you know what I mean. But the U.S. is wise to Fred's warped mentality and eagerness to do anything harmful to the U.S. as was revealed by the deluge of U.S. embassy emails leaked by Wikileaks a few years ago.

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