By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
Attorney Fred Smith, QC, is opposed to a provision in a new immigration bill that would prevent people born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamians from becoming citizens if they are 19 and older.
The bill mandates that such people apply for citizenship at 18.
Mr Smith said: “I am encouraged that the government has engaged with the law reform commission to propose a completely new immigration act, that is sensible. I have not yet had an opportunity to review it at all because it is quite large and detailed. However, there is a provision in the Act which seeks to treat people born in the Bahamas but who did not register between 18 and 19 as aliens and liable to be deported after that time. This is unadulterated savagery of people’s birthrights. I urge the government in its consultative process to rethink this provision and remove it and instead pass a simple section in the Act which would make it simple for everyone in the country: if you are born in the Bahamas you are automatically Bahamian, your birth certificate is your identification as a Bahamian citizen, just as it is for an American citizen in the United States.”
“We should stop fooling around with people who consider themselves Bahamians, who have always lived in the Bahamas and until Fred Mitchell started his nonsense in 2014 were never born with. It would avoid all the corruption in immigration, would dramatically reduce the cost of immigration and would ensure people can live and work and be constructive contributors to society without looking over their shoulders in terror and fear about being picked up and deported all the time or having to be bribed to keep free. Born in the Bahamas, automatically Bahamian, very simple. Just like Bahamians love to go over to Florida to have babies and they walk away with an American birth certificate and their kids have dual nationalities, people born in the Bahamas should automatically be Bahamian. That would be the humane, sensible and modern and rationale thing to do. We need to stop building internal walls, discriminating between people born in the Bahamas. We don’t need immigration walls in the Bahamas. I urge the government to rethink and embrace Bahamian born and bred.”