0

Bahamian-born – but at risk for deportation

Carmichael Road Detention Centre

Carmichael Road Detention Centre

By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS

Tribune Staff Reporter

lmunnings@tribunemedia.net

ACTING Immigration Director William Pratt said the Department of Immigration’s policy is to deport children born in The Bahamas to Haiti with their parents if those guardians lack legal status to be in this country.

Human Rights Bahamas, a group that often advocates for immigrants, countered that children born in The Bahamas should not be deported even if their parents lack legal status.

Mr Pratt’s comment came after the friend of a woman apprehended in Fox Hill last Thursday visited The Tribune yesterday to complain that no one could take care of her friend's ten-year-old daughter, who was left behind because she was in school when her mother was taken. 

The friend said her efforts to reunite the girl with her mother, including a visit to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, failed.

The girl said she loved her mother and cried after learning immigration officers arrested her. The student said she didn’t want to go to Haiti because she had never been there and was born and raised in The Bahamas.

The Tribune worked with Mr Pratt to determine if the girl’s mother was in immigration custody. Officials eventually confirmed that she was in a safe house with her three-year-old child.

The Tribune has shared the names of those involved with Immigration but is not publishing the names to protect the child.

Mr Pratt said immigration officials would investigate a claim that the mother had a work permit application for which the only outstanding requirement is payment.

He said if the mother has no legal right to be in the country and no relatives want to adopt the girl, the child would be deported to Haiti with her mother.

“We can’t leave the child here to become a ward of a state if the child’s parents are still alive,” he said. “We have an embassy in Port au Prince. When the child gets 18, the child puts in (her) application or the child could file for Belonger’s status, and the child could return to The Bahamas based on her birth.”

“Minors have to go with their parents. We can’t leave them here, and then anything go wrong we get blamed as a country, as a state. But as I said, if the father is here and he wish to get legal guardianship for the child, we would have Department of Social Services interview him and investigate his environment to see whether it is conducive. Once the social services give the okay, then we will be more than willing for the child to be released into the custody of the legal guardian.”

The Bahamas has resisted international calls to halt deportations to Haiti amid that country’s instability.

Comments

Observer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

When did birth become a legitimate claim for citizenship in the Commonwealth of The Bahanas?

0

AnObserver 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Being born in a country and having the right to live in that country seems a pretty basic human right.

0

Dawes 4 months, 1 week ago

Not by law its not, only in a few Countries and Bahamas is not one of them

0

DWW 4 months, 1 week ago

there has always been a right to apply but no guarantee of approval

0

birdiestrachan 4 months, 2 weeks ago

If all illegals who have children are allowed to stay in the Bahamas the country will be in deep trouble. The children are better of with their parents

0

JackArawak 4 months, 2 weeks ago

We’re well beyond deep trouble in regards to “Creole speaking Bahamians”. Pindling failed to grab the bull by the horns in the 70’s. Instead he played politics.

0

DWW 4 months, 1 week ago

well, it is interesting to consider that the bahamas has a declining population without immigrants , legal or not. xenophobia is never attractive in politics

0

empathy 4 months, 1 week ago

This humanitarian situation is indicative as to why we need to finally address our immigration policy, especially regarding “birth right citizenship’. We have certainly benefited from immigration and if we want to continue to reap those benefits then we should craft sensible and pragmatic policies.

Instead we continue to dodge the problems and they fester “since the 70’s” as one commenter opined.

0

stillwaters 4 months, 1 week ago

Why would a mother want to leave her children behind? Who will take care of them? Best thing would be for the fathers to take over the care of the children while they are here without their moms.

0

Sign in to comment