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Senator: Give Undocumented The Right To Work For A Year

The Kendal GL Isaacs gym, where hurricane refugees have taken shelter after being evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama. Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

The Kendal GL Isaacs gym, where hurricane refugees have taken shelter after being evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama. Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

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SENATOR Ranard Henfield.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

SENATOR Ranard Henfield wants undocumented storm evacuees in shelters to be given freedom to reside and work legally in The Bahamas if they divulge information about their traffickers and comply with other requirements.

“Every adult illegal Haitian national in a shelter would be issued a right to reside and work for one year come November 2 if it were up to me,” he said in a Facebook post that sparked commentary yesterday. “(It would be) renewable (up to one more year) if you can provide me with proof of employment in nine months, NIB contributions, an apartment rental agreement and a listing of all immediate family members in The Bahamas. I’d be willing to pay $500-$1,000 for information on who trafficked you in under our radars, from what dock in Haiti to which drop off point in The Bahamas and who’s been employing you.”

He said he believes such a move would eradicate Abaco’s shanty town dilemma, address the problem of people not contributing to NIB, provide business to Bahamian owners of apartments, bust human trafficking rings, empty shelters and restore evacuees with dignity.

When one Facebook user urged the country to follow the law by deporting undocumented migrants, Mr Henfield compared the predicament to the web shop industry which was regularised after a long period in the shadows.

“Government realised that the numbers industry, which was illegal, was extracting hundreds of millions from the economy,” he said. “Not a tax dollar was coming out of it to fund Social Services, the Ministry of Education or any other aspect of our government’s expenditure. One government legalised what was illegal and now it’s paying taxes in the hundreds of millions.

“I’m not suggesting (undocumented migrants) be given citizenship. They are here working now. Living in and erecting more and more shanty towns. They are in the schools and hospitals. We have failed to fix the problem at the root. The root is ‘how they’re getting in.’ I’m proposing incentivising a percentage of them to talk, pay NIB and adhere to the local standards for housing and healthcare.”

The government suspended apprehension and repatriation exercises for people in areas affected by Hurricane Dorian. Last week, Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson said this does not give illegal evacuees in shelters a free pass. He said to avoid repatriation, they must at least apply for legal status.

Authorities have been on high alert for undocumented migrants returning to Abaco where the country’s largest shanty towns existed before Dorian destroyed them.

Algernon Cargill, the government’s coordinator for relief and recovery on that island, said some who have tried to return to Abaco have been stopped while some have successfully reached the island.

“We’ve encouraged the law enforcement to assist with that because if you don’t have any legal right to be there, there’s no reason to return to Abaco at all,” he said yesterday. “What we’re doing is encouraging people who don’t have a legal right to come to Abaco to don’t come to Abaco. My wish is that we man the airport and ports and deter people who don’t have a legal right to be here because infrastructure cannot support persons who don’t have a legal reason, such as looking after their property or visiting relatives. To be here so as to resettle is strongly discouraged. If you have a home, coming is fully encouraged. If you want to clear your property, that’s fine. If you don’t have a legal right to be in the Bahamas, there’s no reason to come.”

Last week, former Minister of State for Immigration Branville McCartney said undocumented migrants displaced by Hurricane Dorian should be given provisional status as a way for the government to monitor them. He said the designation should come with an expiration date.

Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell, however, said his party believes such accommodations are not necessary.

“Our position is there is no reason that we see to deviate from standard procedures to deal with any illegal immigrant,” he said yesterday. “Neither is there a reason in immigration enforcement to discriminate or distinguish based on nationality. The only question is are you legal or not and if you are not, home you go.”

Comments

Chucky 3 weeks ago

Why not criminalize the hiring of illegals and....

Lol. Wait, this is a crime, that is rarely enforced. But enforce this, and prosecute and you will see the end of illegal immigration!

Truth is, business wants and needs illegals, it serves to both supply employees for jobs Bahamians wind do, and increase competition so wage growth remains stagnant. And as in every other country, governments cater to business at the expense of their populations, and this is why only a token few non connected are ever charged with employing illegal immigrants.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks ago

Is this ding bat Ranard Henfield a blood relative of our Creole speaking Minister of Foreign Affairs, namely Darren Henfield?

Every Bahamian knows that if you give the illegal Haitian community an inch they will take a mile, and then a hell-of-a-lot more!

When is our Triple D Size PM (Duckin' & Dodgin' Doc) going to start enforcing our immigration laws by deporting the many thousands of illegal Haitian aliens back to Haiti? They are criminals by virtue of having entered our country illegally and as such they are not eligible or able to apply for and receive any type of legal status in the Bahamas.

Some one needs to remind Triple D Size Minnis (again) that only corrupt political leaders disavow their sworn obligation to uphold the laws and protect the citizenry. UPHOLD THE LAWS OF OUR LAND MINNIS!

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screwedbahamian 3 weeks ago

Why is it that every time ( OUR LEADERS????) those elected or APPOINTED are given the opportunity to exhibit LEADERSHIP, they tend to make complete ASSES of themselves with SHITTY leadership statement coming out of their mouths. IF THE BAHAMAS IS AN ISLAND NATION WITH LAWS, THEN ENFORCE THEM, FOR EVERYONE. PERIOD!!!!!..

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TheMadHatter 3 weeks ago

Yes it is no surprise that Sen is pro-Haitian. This has shown thru in his writings over the years. However, Sen, what will we get in return for this favor? Will we at least get a full accounting of the hurricane money even though we dont know anything about the VAT money?

By the way, the "web shop.industry" is not an "industry". It produces nothing. But i suppose in a country that produces nothing filled with people who are used to getting nothing and being valued as nothing - a room full of shiny neon lights might pass as an industry. For some it might pass as Heaven on Earth.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. We can only pray that someday we will have a king with two eyes.

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geostorm 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Senator, what hogwash is this of which you speak. You have got to be kidding me! The government has to deport those illegal immigrants. They have no choice because we can not afford to keep them here. I feel for them and showing compassion is important, but I'm sorry, we can not sustain them.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 6 days ago

and what does the senator propose for a solution when that illegal immigrant has a child within that year?

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Ton_Heijnmans 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Probably the single most intelligent thing to pop up from out of all the half-floating, destroyed flotsam and jetsam yet. Level-headed with the thinking-cap on. Mariners be making sightings of wreckage far far out from the Azores about midway. All that stuff got to go somewhere? All kinds of stuff gets washed up our side. Our stuff gets swept up to Greenland. Everything, and anything. You name it. Wrecked boats, all kind of timber, wood, bottles. Bottles with sometimes written lettrès in them (it was a famous song that inspired years if that transatlantic activity). All from down your way. Back in the days, when kids could actually write out in perfect grammar without needing a laptop with a word-processing pro-gram installed. "Them's were de daze". ..... I Doubt a body could make it all the way over, though. Not with the waters being so warm this time of year. Warmest it ever gets up here and that means all the big fish come up from below. Same every year. These shores are the direction of all the prevailing currents, so it's only a matter if time for anything that floats. You'd be surprised what pops up, upon our shores. Bails of crack cocaine too. Like I said: if it's from Caribbean, it's headed this way. That's why they're semi-professional beachcombers up these parts. Never know what you come across. Only a matter of time now.

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks, 1 day ago

This man is of "WE MARCH" fame who knows who he worked for Oscar Mayer fried bacon and the drama king.?? A Judas indeed.

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