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Attorney General Tells Migrants Who Lost Jobs In Storm To Leave Country

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

MIGRANT storm victims who have lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Dorian “need to go home” even if their work permits are not yet expired, Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday. 

His comments to The Tribune came after the Department of Immigration issued a statement specifying that prospective employers of storm victims that need work permits must prove their applicant has satisfactory living conditions, because if they don’t, they will be denied. 

“If the employer is still paying them then they have a job, if not then they need to go home,” Mr Bethel told The Tribune. “The files will reflect who the business or homeowner applicant is. We will know if a job exists.”

According to the government’s 2018 shanty town report, 41 percent of Abaco residents in the areas were legal residents as a consequence of their work permit.

Meanwhile, in its statement, the Department of Immigration said: “The applicant for a new work permit, or the renewal of an existing work permit, by a prospective employer of a non-Bahamian worker, will be required to satisfy immigration officials that satisfactory living accommodations have been arranged by that employer on behalf of the prospective worker, and that the said worker will not become a charge on the state or be permitted to live in sub-standard housing. Any person found in The Bahamas in contravention of the immigration laws will be subject to arrest, criminal proceedings and, where applicable, detention and deportation.”

In keeping with a 2014 immigration policy put in place by the Christie administration, the department also said first time work permit applicants must be living in his or her home country when that application is made. The department’s stance will no doubt put pressure on hundreds of migrants stuck in limbo after Hurricane Dorian. 

“The public is advised that non-nationals seeking employment in The Bahamas must be approved by the Immigration Department and that applications for the issuance of the first work permit will not be accepted or considered unless the individual is physically present and resident in his or her country of origin at the same time that the first application is made,” the Department of Immigration said. 

“Further, the public is hereby reminded that work permits are non-transferable from employer to employer. Any transfer from one employer to another under a current permit may only be legally affected by a new application submitted by that new employer.”

The government’s announcement is likely to worry many who fled Abaco’s decimated shanty towns after the storm. At shelters, some evacuees have openly fretted about what their status means for their future. One man complained last month that he missed out on $5,000 from an Asue draw when the hurricane tore through the Mudd, money he planned to use to renew his work permit. 

A middle-aged woman said she has lived in the country for more than 20 years and similarly lost her work permit renewal savings. Both people had an unexpired work permit but likely lost their job because of the storm. One man told this newspaper he was born in Abaco to Haitian parents and never visited Haiti but lacked a Belonger’s permit to reside in the Bahamas. 

Some public figures have called on the government to give some temporary status to migrants displaced by Hurricane Dorian. Across social media and throughout the country, however, many Bahamians have reacted angrily to such suggestions.

On September 23, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis told The Tribune that undocumented immigrants affected by Hurricane Dorian face no protections and will be subject to the country’s laws of apprehension and deportation.

That same day, Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson said undocumented immigrants must ensure that they have at least applied for legal status in order to escape deportation.

“Now that we are in the restoration and rebuilding phase, we are enforcing our laws,” Mr Johnson told The Tribune last week. “Dorian did not give persons amnesty. If you were without status before the storm, you remain without proper status after the storm. If you don’t have your stuff, look at what the law requires. The laws will be applied in a way that maintains the dignity of people. We are in the rebuilding phase in Abaco and businesses must also ensure that the persons they hire are legal.”

Comments

Millennial242 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Probably could have said it in a more comforting tone...but this seems logical. If the 'work' no longer exists for the work permit that you have, then yeah...time to go.

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My2centz 1 month, 2 weeks ago

This feels like Minnis' deadline which was swiftly followed by a visit to the Mudd and a Haitian church to assure them it was just talk, i.e pandering to non Haitian- Bahamian voters. I expect great news for the illegal and undocumented Haitian community will soon follow.

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joeblow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

No need to tell them, just do it!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Exactly! All of this talk by Triple D Size Minnis, bumbling Elsworth Johnson and now flea infested Carl Bethel is nothing but the usual lip service in an effort to appease 'true' Bahamians who are royally fed up with our corrupt politicians and equally corrupt immigration officials for having allowed the Bahamas to become, in the eyes of the rest of the world, a rapidly failing satellite state of Haiti.

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Ton_Heijnmans 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Be seeing the price of everything, and the value of nothing. ●♡ Pennywise, plain pound-stupid. ♧■

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bahamian242 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Hold on NOW!!! Just like that?? What about their rights under the Employment Act???? If they were Legally employed, with a work permit, and paying NIB, they still have a right under the Grievance Procedure!! Especially if their Employer was insured. Their Employer cannot collect from the Insurance company or make a claim using them to obtain, an insurance payment. That is Fraud and unjust enrichment! I see Law suits coming with that statement!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

In cases where the illegal alien entered our country illegally, he or she had no legal right to receive a work permit or residency permit to begin with. Ergo their employment was illegal and their registration with NIB was illegal. In the rare instances where these illegal aliens or their employers may have made contributions to NIB, those contributions should be deemed to have been fraudulently made and therefore subject to forfeiture. No alien who illegally entered our country should be rewarded for having fraudulently applied for social benefits from NIB that they were never entitled to receive. Case closed.

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joeblow 1 month, 2 weeks ago

... an ILLEGAL cannot be LEGALLY employed! Anyone in this country without proper landing documents are illegal and any documentation they hold are unconstitutionally and illegally given!

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BahamasForBahamians 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Non Bahamians are not entitled to Unemployment Benefits from the National Insurance Board.

Does anyone read the law before posting here or do we just write comments based on how we feel?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

That's not what he said. He's simply making the point that persons who have have illegally entered our country and therefore have no legal right to be gainfully employed are not entitled to join and receive benefits from our national insurance scheme. You used the term "Non Bahamians" - he correctly did not do so.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Most of know Carl Bethel can't be trusted so let's more carefully dissect what he said.

".........a prospective employer of a non-Bahamian worker, will be required to satisfy immigration officials that satisfactory living accommodations have been arranged by that employer on behalf of the prospective worker, and that the said worker will not become a charge on the state or be permitted to live in sub-standard housing."

No rules or guidelines have been provided to immigration officials regarding the documentation they must obtain from an employer to create a paper trail to evidence how these requirements are to be met for each applicant. Will an employer's or applicant's payment of a few hundred dollars under the table be all that's required?

What constitutes "satisfactory living accommodations"?

What's meant by "arranged"?

Will the employer be required to post some kind of financial bond to guarantee the worker does "not become a charge on the state"?

What constitutes "sub-standard housing"?

How will immigration officials go about verifying the initial and continuing residential address of the worker?

"Any person found in The Bahamas in contravention of the immigration laws will be subject to arrest, criminal proceedings and, where applicable, detention and deportation.”

Why did Carl Bethel need to say "where applicable" if the person was found in The Bahamas in contravention of the immigration laws?

" In keeping with a 2014 immigration policy put in place by the Christie administration, the department also said first time work permit applicants must be living in his or her home country when that application is made."

True to form, Carl Bethel is being most untruthful here. Our immigration laws, rules and policies have always required that the individual for whom the employer has made the first application be physically present and resident in his or her country of origin until the first application has in fact been approved and the work permit or residency actually issued. Is the Minnis-led FNM government seeking to simply rubber stamp work permits or residency permits for the many thousands of illegal aliens who illegally entered our country prior to a fictitious 2014 immigration policy?

Also, as recently as September 23, Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson said undocumented immigrants must ensure that they have at least applied for legal status in order to escape deportation. This certainly implies a willingness on the part of Minnis-led FNM government to simply rubber stamp work permits or residency permits for illegal aliens who have illegally entered our country.

Yes indeed folks - never trust anything coming out of Carl Bethel's mouth. He's and old political hotcake carrying covered in mange and carrying too many fleas.

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TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

There are real issues with the way reds have marked the 30 day anniversary.Hurricane Dorian's making landfall on colony's Out Island of Abaco with the attorney-general-general, "queen's counsel" comrade Carl Wilshire, coming out be parading the governing Imperialists red shirts "latest" of cabinet's post hurricane visions for a complete "makeover" the populaces of the Abaco's, yes, no.... You just can't take make this intent to shift Abaco's populaces, up .... unless you first remove the Imperialists hidden agenda for the Abaco's ...

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jus2cents 1 month, 2 weeks ago

where is the tolerance, humanity, compassion, kindness, love, basic awareness of our fellow man? Read, learn, think... Hate begets hate, we reap what we sow.... I can't imagine what all this hate speech will do to a young mind that has been through hell...

https://www.stabroeknews.com/2019/09/...">https://www.stabroeknews.com/2019/09/...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

True Bahamians have been going through hell for decades now as a result of The Bahamas rapidly becoming a failed state, like Haiti, as a result of the unsupportable weight of the many thousands of illegal Haitians aliens who entered our country illegally. You're obviously keen to look out for the interests of illegal Haitian aliens. But who's looking out for the interests of the 'true' Bahamian people?

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My2centz 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"Hate"? A country following its laws? A fed up voter base? Illegal immigration? This sounds like issues most countries outside of LA LA Land are facing.

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jamaicaproud 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Let me remind you joker. In German Nazi land, it was the law to harass, kill, murder and exterminate non Aryan Germans. I know another culture migrating enmasse is an issue, but that is no excuse to be consumed with hatred.

Even a disaster has become all about di Ashuns. People calling for people to be shot, old women calling for soldiers to drown migrants. Good Christian country eh?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Stop playing that old worn out xenophobia card.....that's not at all what it's about and you know it. Go back to whistling into the wind which is something you're well suited to do.

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My2centz 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You're the joke. Jamaica is the most violent Caribbean nation. It is much closer to nazi Germany standards than Bahamas will ever be.

Your elected governments are usually associated with major gangs. Your own repatriated Jamaicans live in fear, and are often killed for not being a real JA...11 so far this year? Homosexuals have to live in hiding or flee from persecution and violence. You don’t even bother with “Di Ashuns” they're repatriated just as swiftly today, as they were after the 2010 earthquake.

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jamaicaproud 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Jamaica Land we Love. Out o Many One People. Jamaicans dont have to sa "True Jamaican" Or 'Real Jamaican" because we are confident secure and solid.

Now hundreds of your peeps study in Jamaica every year. Unmolested, at peace and return safely.

https://thenassauguardian.com/2019/07...">https://thenassauguardian.com/2019/07... Its not a good thing to compare murders rates but here goes One thing though. I know with the Haitian deportations Crime will drop to Zero in dah Bahamas ========================================================== The Bahamas had the sixth highest murder rate in the Americas, a recent United Nations report found. Jamaica and Belize were ranked fourth and fifth and The Bahamas sixth So stick to the topic. The impending fraud of using money meant to fund peoples recovery to round up and purchase fuel for deportations. Including that of hundreds who were born right dere. I dont care about your foolish laws or the fact that.. Anyway keep messing wid dem ashans

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My2centz 1 month, 2 weeks ago

This is the topic... If there were ever a nazi Germany in the Caribbean, Jamaica is it. Your own people are targeted for being perceived as less Jamaican, i.e lived abroad or gay. At present it is essentially a police state with cities under lockdown, citizens under curfew and subjected to arbitrary arrest. Even if Haitians were allowed to stay, they’d be subjected to same “cleansing” as the other “un”Jamaicans. Sound familiar? This is why your fake concern for Haitians is a joke,

Meanwhile, Bahamians are all talk, no bite. Our harsh words don’t compare to the brutal realities of “nazi” Jamaica. Beside that the number of Jamaicans and Haitians that live in Bahamas, have a greater impact due to our low population. They live unmolested.But we only have to look at what’s going on in both countries to know who’s pulling that crime ranking upward.

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John 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Those that were here on a legal work permit must be given reasonable time to wrap up their affairs. And this doesn’t apply only to Haitians but any other foreign workers whose job no longer exist. They have to be given reasonable time to leave. Some may have personal effects that need to be shipped. Others may have to make living arrangements for when they return home. Some may also have children to deal with.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

No delay. They assumed the risk of immediate deportation when they decided to arrive in our country illegally. They passed that same risk on to their children when they decided to have them born in our country as illegal aliens rather than back in Haiti.

The government of Haiti is virtually non-existent today (which is where the Bahamas is headed if we don't take immedaite action) so there should be no difficulty getting the many thousnads of these illegal aliens repatriated back in Haiti. We can notify UNICEF and other NGOs so that they can be on the ground in Haiti to assist with the needs of these people upon their arrival back in Haiti.

The delay game has been played too many times in the past. It's high time for immediate action - no more dillying & dallying. The daily suffering of Bahamians and our country's scarce to non-existent finances do not allow for any delay.

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geostorm 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ok Mr. Attorney General, enforce the law! We the people want less talk and more action. We have two islands to rebuild. We welcome all who are willing to come through the front door legally, but we can not support illegal immigrants here, its too much of a burden on our society!

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TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It is but comrade Trumpism craziness to dispatch immigration and policeman's to scatter throughout and across a colony of out islands in order to swoop up individuals born on Bahamaland's soil, who know no other land to be detained and locked up until they are deported to a country of which they have never set foot on, yes, no .... how cruel but 30 days to pre 2022 launch a political party's, general election 'shape-up or be deported' platform ..... the sins of a populaces elected 35 governing MP's if left unchecked, will come back haunt colony's populaces for generations yet be born.... tell me this. If you were one the thousands born here who are to be arrested to be marked with 'X' to be deported off some strange land, would you just remain quietly silent, yes, no .... Has the undocumented become a total mess, yes indeed but lots blame falls squarely with the populaces consecutive elected politicians, and from both the two mainstream political parties ...

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jus2cents 1 month, 2 weeks ago

(CNN) — You can now be fined up to $250,000 if you call someone an ‘illegal alien’ in New York City New York City has banned the term “illegal alien” when used “with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person,” the city said.

The city’s new guidelines, announced last week, also ban discrimination against someone based on their English proficiency and threats to call immigration authorities on someone “based on a discriminatory motive.” These violations can result in fines up to $250,000. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/cchr/down...">https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/cchr/down...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You neglected to mention that a suit has already been filed at the Federal Court level seeking an injunction and declaration that what NYC has done here is unconstitutional. The suit has been fast tracked and leading expert lawyers on the U.S. Constitution are of the certain view NYC will not prevail.

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DonAnthony 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. Nothing but hot air, pandering to a mass of rabid anti- Haitian Bahamians. This government will do nothing to deal with our illegal immigration problem.

So calm down everyone, you are only getting your blood pressure up for nothing. LOL.

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jamaicaproud 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Criminals, wicked evil. The definition of illegal is convenient. It is anyone you determine to be illegal. When I am driving home and I see the billboard talking about donate to Abaco, I laugh. I will not give a Kobo in the false pretense t will be helping people who were affected, when they were rounded up to be deported. So peopel are donating to 1. Fill the pockets of Politrickians 2. Pay for Fuel to deport the peopel who the money was sent to help.

After all "Illegals don't deserve help"

Jah sees, and Jah knows. Unoo shall be covered by the Red Sea. Wicked people.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The entire big pharma industry is afraid of the R&D costs that would have to be spent finding and poducing the very special medication you require.

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SP 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The Haitian community continues laughing at these saber-rattling clowns.

The Dominican Republic also tried dealing with illegal Haitians "humanely" for decades without an ounce of success! Haitians simply WILL NOT willingly abide by a countries immigration or any other laws. It is no secret that Haiti is mainly devoid of law and order, it is their culture, so why would we or any country expect Haitians to suddenly care about its' laws?

Carl Bethel and the government failed lip service act is way, way, too passe`! We've heard this "go home" mantra so often that we now join the Haitians in laughing at these jokers!

One thing for certain. We the people WILL vote these do-nothings out just as we voted out all the rest, and the PLP IS NOT the answer. We need two new parties.

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mckenziecpa 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Fred Smith is going to put his foot up carls a**

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DonAnthony 1 month, 2 weeks ago

He surely will.... as soon as it heals😁

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