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‘Send Illegals Home By End Of This Week’

IMMIGRATION and Financial Services Minister Brent Symonette.

IMMIGRATION and Financial Services Minister Brent Symonette.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

EMPLOYERS in the country have the remainder of this week to send all illegal employees home, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette warned yesterday as he signalled the Minnis administration’s “aggressive” campaign to clamp down on private businesses in the coming days.

Anyone found employing illegal migrants will face a cash fine and criminal sentencing before the courts, Mr Symonette continued.

In the aftermath of the government’s December 31 deadline for all illegal immigrants to leave the country voluntarily or face aggressive pursuit and deportation, Mr Symonette said there are also plans to make the penalties for those who break the law more stringent.

“So we’ll continue aggressively this year starting on every nationality who is here,” Mr Symonette said yesterday ahead of the morning session of Cabinet. “Those persons from whichever country they came from who have not regularised themselves have had their time to regularise themselves and the natural consequences will flow.”

“As I announced on January 1, we are also going to enforce a rule that is on the books that employers who employ persons illegally will also be prosecuted. Up to now we have tended to not deal with that so now for instance (this applies to) building sites (and) business houses so on and so forth. Those owners should make sure that this week they send those persons home or else they face a fine and criminal sentence.

“We talk about criminal sentences and a lot of people take this very lightly but you know when you go to get your US visa and you have a criminal record, we all know what happens. “So I really implore employers to ensure that they take this seriously because it will be a new issue.”

He added: “On another point, we are looking at and we probably will later this year increase the penalties for employers hiring illegal immigrants and that’ll follow. I will say at this point that this is not targeted at any particular nationality, it is targeted across the board. So whether you’re a banker or a gardener, a landscaper, whatever industry you’re in will be targeted right across the board.”

However, those who have begun the process to regularise employees have nothing to fear, once the receipt of this process is presented, he said.

He said the government will also look at ways to beef up detecting repeat offenders, meaning those who repeatedly enter the country illegally despite deportation.

“We are going to look at that too, the whole question of fingerprinting. We are investigating the whole question of footprints, footprints of persons at birth and when the new computer system comes on track at immigration we’ll have hand held computers whereby you can check that.”

Mr Symonette also clarified misconceptions of the government’s immigration policy.

“Let’s correct something I think we said the other day about policy. There’s no new policy. The policy and the law has always been in effect for years, that to be in the Bahamas you have to be in the Bahamas legally.

“The difference that the prime minister announced is we are not going to tolerate persons who are here illegally, so, ie, persons who are breaking the law have the opportunity to regularise themselves or the full effect of the law will happen.

“We are now on January 2, 2018. Between Christmas and New Year’s there were several apprehensions the Friday before New Year’s. We repatriated 114 nationals back to Haiti and it’s interesting to know that in the first sort of couple months we deported 2,800 nationals and 2,500 of them were deported to Haiti.

“So that gives you an idea as to the numbers that we had. Between Christmas and New Year’s, we had 13 Ecuadorians and one Jamaican apprehended, which is an interesting new trend where we are getting persons from South America. We are getting a lot of people from Africa so in terms of the bulk of people that are apprehended on the water they’re mainly Haitian nationals and other persons come up to get into America.”

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force apprehended nearly 100 illegal migrants in three separate incidents over the holiday weekend.

In the first incident, RBDF officers caught 76 Haitian migrants on Saturday in waters near the Exuma chain. This was the third group of Haitians to be captured in The Bahamas in recent weeks.

Also on Saturday, officers took six undocumented immigrants into custody after they were discovered at a local resort on North Bimini. Hours later, early on Sunday morning, nine foreign nationals were turned over to a RBDF patrol craft by a tanker off Grand Bahama.

The RBDF said the latest apprehensions came as it continues to unfold its coastal and maritime security strategies to interdict people engaged in drug, human, gun and wildlife smuggling, in addition to poaching of marine resources by local and foreign fishermen along with a recent increase in boat theft.

According to the head of the Department of Immigration’s Enforcement Unit, Kirklyn Neely, the Department of Immigration deported nearly 7,000 people in 2017.

The Department of Immigration intensified its apprehension efforts in November after a large empty sloop was discovered on the shoreline of Adelaide Beach. Officials believe dozens of undocumented migrants were on board that sloop and had help evading capture.

Comments

TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades! A real illegal immigration enforcement or hypocrisy in its purest form bullshi@ red talk, has asks because when imigration officers under former immigration minister Freddy showed up at a certain workplace location to search for illegals - the then Her Majesty's Official Opposition party blasted the action by immigration officers whilst wearing their 'red shorts' how dare you.
Talking is not believing when this government knows but is unwilling to provide the public with the total number of illegals in the country...it shouldn't take eye surgery to read the numbers if the number of illegals are 80,000, or is it 180,466?
Can the PM and Immigration minister, assure the public that any 'red shorts' MP, Senator or Serving Board Member or Government Official found employing even one single illegal that they will be immediately dealt with FIRED?

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John 9 months, 2 weeks ago

‘In the first sort of couple months we deported 2,800 immigrants and $2,500 of them were to Haiti ‘. That alone must have cost a million dollars. And with the Bahamas economy expected to rebound, the numbers will definitely increase. Especially since Donald Trump has warned them not to come to the US. So what can be done to make the Bahamas less attractive or less accessible to illegals. If 2,500 can reach here in a matter of months, how many are actually leaving the coast of Haiti and how many are being lost at Sea? What agreement or efforts are being made with Haiti to discourage Haitians leaving. Doesn’t the US still have several billion in aid that was supposed to go to Haiti and wasn’t Hundreds of millions already stolen o squandered in Haiti. Should the Bahamas start using its diplomatic ties to ensure Haiti gets these funds and assistance in growing its economy or is Haiti still blacklisted from the treaty it made with France over 100 years ago?

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TheMadHatter 9 months, 2 weeks ago

He was not specific on the amount of the fine to employers, and hinted at "...we are looking at and we probably will later this year increase the penalties for employers hiring...".

So, in other words, it will be a slap on the wrist and they will confiscate all your bubble gum. That's it.

Go ahead employers...hire anyone you want. They are obviously joking and jiving. No need to worry.

Have you heard of ONE SINGLE EMPLOYER being charged before the Courts? I haven't. And you won't either. In the unlikely chance that you do hear of one, they will not report the amount of the fine. One big joke.

Free land, Free clinics, Free schools, All Aboard !!!!!

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I keep telling you DNAs that yinna need to "up ya game" from this stupidity like you talking here! "They een tell me what's the fine". . .you complained! What wrong with ya own dang eyes them? "Yoon know ha ta go look fer ya own information aye". . .it right there 'WHERE ALL THE OTHER LAWS" them are man! Go carry ya intellectually lazy backside and find out fer ya own sef! You gatta-be kidding us man/woman!

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades, in this story is the BS line you need really pay attention to..... Send Illegals Home By End Of This Week. We shall went to see who the 'so on and so forth' are that will be leg ironed to do da Bank Lane shuffle? Is the government prepared to arrest their own in the House and Senate, including family members and business associates, if caught employing even one illegal? I say smells cow manure!

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OldFort2012 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Reminds me not to go east of the airport for the next few months. Unless Brent is lying, the traffic jams at the Immigration road-blocks are going to be of historic proportions.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I beg to differ. . .new sheriff and he merry men are effecting a new approach. . .they een bothering with them road blocks too much because they tend to get messy especially when lawyer Smith "see" an opportunity to carry on like Yosemite Sam and make a fool of our bungling officials! These new merry men are picking up with no real "rush" to "rundown" peoples. . .they are focusing on the job. . .a strategy we all always knew must be enacted to get any real impact. . .no job. . .less are the illegals on the streets in the morning times during rush hour!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 2 weeks ago

All talk and nothing more. Just like the bogus threats made by Minnis to MPs who failed to file their required financial disclosure reports.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH bouy. . .can somebody gee these DNAs on brain to share among "theysef"! This country is going through trying times and these Andros Yard Chickens them talking fool! Let the government make its efforts and if they are to just "swing" us. . .then lets get on they backsides. . .

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade Sweet Baby Jesus, we is warm bodies over allowable capacity, so how can we not loosen our minds to Sandilands unless we lose 90,000 warm bodies in population before the 2022 general election from the 299,800 jammed into Nassau Town’s 7 miles wide by 21 miles long, a colony of islands with the unique distinction of having once had a pirate as our chief magistrate, a former king of England as we governor who was bedding with another married man’s wife, and a reformed bootlegger as we first premier - was never intended house over two thirds Bahamaland’s entire legal and illegal population alongside millions tourists. {You just can’t make up such a colorful exactly who and what we are history}.

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SP 9 months, 2 weeks ago

How the Bahamas intend to fund mass repatriations has never been publically discussed. Either we're going to finally implement measures be taken seriously by these people about this or not.

One solution is to fine anyone caught hiring illegals the equivalent cost of repatriating at least 10 illegals. Secondly, among other deterrent measures, individuals found illegally gainfully employed should have all unlawfully gained income, valuables etc' confiscated by the state.

This whole illegal repatriation initiative can be made self-funding if we have the political will as the Dominican Republic displayed in resolving their Haitian invasion dilemma. Being nice and overly concerned about humane treatment has proved a total failure. It is time to remove the gloves, ignore the human rights activist, and do what works in the best interest of our country and people.

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OldFort2012 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You are going about it the wrong way. You don't fine the poor immigrant working for starvation wages. That is pointless. He has nothing. Fine the problem: the BAHAMIAN employer profiting from his labour. He is the one making money and he is the one with the money.

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My2centz 9 months, 2 weeks ago

You fine both because they both broke the law. The government is not a charity or church organization and shouldn't be operating like one.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

A breath of fresh air . . .they always knew this was the master strategy for halting the growing problem of illegals working in this country! Yes I agree the "lil" poor man is not the major problem. . .he/she is being "used" too. . .greedy people using them for their own gain. . .paying no benefit mandated by law for fair labour. . .carrying home all the grave while the undocumented person "get catch" and sent back home with an empty pocket!

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sheeprunner12 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Someone asked about the Government tender M.V. Eastore that back in the day - used to transport hundreds of Haitians back home ........ Maybe Loftus Roker can tell us what happened to the Eastore ......... Now that we have the new RBDF boat Lawrence Major ......... that can take back thousands each week ......... Just fill the new Eastore to the brim and shackled them on deck and send their illegal asses back to Haiti ........ Please do not waste time getting all other illegals as well from the Chinese to the Latinos.

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John 9 months, 2 weeks ago

So how much does it cost to send a Chinese back home to China. And what is the process? Let’s suppose there’s a racket going on where Chinese are smuggled into the country. They work for 3-4 years and now the employer wants to get rid of them. He owes them several thousand dollars. So immigration comes into the picture, determines the person is illegal and deports them at the expense of the Bahamian tax payers. In the main time the person who smuggled them here got four years labor from them just paying their room and board. Now government has to foot the expense of repatriating them. Then the cycle starts all over again going on year after year.

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sheeprunner12 9 months, 2 weeks ago

There is a serious human smuggling operation going on in The Bahamas with the USA ......... Bahamians get paid to smuggle all nationals to the USA from Abaco, GB and Bimini ...........The cases are there in the public domain.

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John 9 months, 2 weeks ago

And while Donald Trump is still gabbling about building a wall on the Mexican boarder do you know 80-90% of crops in California andyhe South West States are being harvested by illegal Mexican immigrants? They cross the border during the planting season then most of them go home and return for the harvesting.Why isn’t immigration rules enforced against farmers and illegals workers? Well from time to time farms are raided and farmers get small fines. But the economics of blocking these migrant workers completely or hitting farmers with heavier fines will send food prices through the roof.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

YOU NEED TO GO AND RESEARCH THE "DAY WORKER" PHENOMENON IN THOSE INDUSTRIES AND YOU WILL SEE THAT HIRING ILLEGAL WORKERS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT ALLOWED BY ICE OFFICIALS. . .THE DAY WORKER CONCEPT WAS STARTED BY CONTRACTORS WHO ARE CONTRACTED TO PROVIDE LABOUR FOR FARM OWNERS. . .OWNERS WILL NOT TOUCH ILLEGAL WORKERS WITH A TEN FOOT POLE. . .ICE WOULD MASH THEM TO POWDER!

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Sickened 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Agreed. However, Industries don't hire illegals, Industry hires companies to provide shift workers and those companies hire illegals. I just read an article about this in the slaughter house industry.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Correct. . .they pick up the day worker from beside the road and have them back by quieting time and the illegal workers just "fade" back into the population like a ghost and don't reappear until needed next morning! ICE knows that contractors can easily say: " I just need a few day workers. . .no need to check for IDs. . .a small thing even if ICE gets rough with them. . .the farmer stays in the clear!

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avidreader 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Speaking of Mexicans and the American southwest: Many years ago I remember either hearing or reading that the late President Lyndon B. Johnson had informally agreed with the sitting Mexican president at the time to go easy on the border crossing enforcement rules since Johnson understood that with the rapid rate of population increase in Mexico and the level of government corruption, there had to be some sort of "pressure relief valve", if you will, to reduce the risk of another Mexican Revolution similar to or more destructive than the one that started in 1911. Also, keep in mind that the border between those two countries moved quite far north after the Mexican-American War of 1846-1847.

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licks2 9 months, 2 weeks ago

It moved south. . .TX, CA, NA. . .Mexico was pushed out of those states as they were annexed by renegade Americans until the US government made those lands a part of the continental USA! Remember Santa Anna and the Alamo? The Texans were deep into Mexico and captured the Alamo.

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avidreader 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Please allow me to correct my earlier comment: The border between the U.S. and Mexico moved quite far SOUTH after the Mexican-American War of 1846-1847.

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades, Our Jamaican Cousin Preaches Hope!

...........////.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtDfg2Q1KzM

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jamaicaproud 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Can you summarize? 1 1/2 hrs is too much. LOL

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TalRussell 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade JamaicaProud, she has story tell.

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