By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
SEVERAL Haitian immigrants were apprehended in Freeport and a Bahamian woman was arrested for allegedly harbouring illegal immigrants at her residence.
An immigration official said officers took seven Haitians into custody during an apprehension exercise last week in the Freeport area.
Immigration officer Napthali Cooper also reported that two of the illegal immigrants were discovered living at the residence of a Bahamian woman.
He warned that people found harbouring illegal immigrants will be arrested and prosecuted.
Immigration officers conducted the exercise in the Freeport area on Wednesday that resulted in the apprehension of four Haitian men and three women. None of the immigrants had legal status to be in The Bahamas.
Mr Cooper said a naturalised Bahamian woman of Haitian descent was also taken into custody for harbouring illegal immigrants after two of the women were allegedly found at her residence.
They were all taken to the Department of Immigration’s Freeport headquarters for processing. On Thursday, the seven immigrants were flown to New Providence where they are being held at the Carmichael Detention Centre.
Mr Cooper said the Bahamian woman was released with a stern warning that if found with illegal immigrants in her home again, she will be brought before the courts and charged.
“The Department of Immigration takes the offence of harbouring illegal immigrants very seriously and sends out a warning to all Bahamians and residents alike that if they allow illegal immigrants to stay in their homes via renting or otherwise, they will be brought before the courts and charged,” he said.
Mr Cooper said the offence carries a penalty on summary conviction of a fine up to $10,000, or two years’ imprisonment, or both.
He said the Immigration Department would like to thank the public for assistance in providing information regarding breaches of the Immigration Act.